Jabbar Savalan, an APFP member held at Sumgait Police station since 5 February, has still not been able to meet with his parents. They report that they have made several attempts to meet with Savalan, but to no avail.
According to Jabbar Savalan’s mother, they only found out about the arrest 6 hours after their son’s detention – and this was only after his mother contacted the police station herself.
Savalan’s mother and brother were looking for him for almost 6 hours. During this period, they were unable to reach him on his mobile phone. Having contacted the police, telling them of Jabbar’s disappearance and inability to contact him on his mobile, they were told that Jabbar Savalan has been found in possession of narcotic substances and that he is currently being held at the police station.
On 6 February a criminal case was opened against him citing Article 234.1 of the Criminal Code (possession of drugs with no intent to sell).
Press Office representative at the Ministry of Internel Affairs Orkhan Mansurzada has said to AzadliqRadiosu (RFE/RL) that according to the information on record, Jabbar Savalan has been held due to being found in possession of 0.74g. of opium. Orkhan Mansurzada says that, in his first statement, the youth said himself that he had just started using drugs.
“Currently investigations and search operations are ongoing to find the source of this substance.”
However the lawyer representing Jabbar Savalan has told AzadliqRadiosu that during a meeting with his client on 7 February, Mr Savalan told him that he was pressured into giving that statement.
“This is his first time. He’s a young kid, nobody there with him. Suddenly finds himself in a police station. Using this to their advantage, they have gotten him to make some statement. Now we are at Sumgait Prosecution Office. He is being questioned in front of us. Now he is telling the truth.”
According to the attorney, the client they are defending has said that he was told that this was an order from ‘higher up’.
“He was personally told that ‘this isn’t our doing, you’ve been chosen by a higher power.'”
APFP Youth Committee chairman Abulfaz Gurbanli says that Savalan, a member of APFP since November of last year, was clearly detained for his social and political activism.
“It is enough to look at Jabbar’s Facebook profile to see what views this person holds. Previously he has had Ataturk, M. E. Rasulzada, Elchibey, and most recently national hero Mubariz Ibrahimov as his profile picture. Saying that a person like this is using drugs is absurd. This is simply an attempt to silence the youth and stop their activism.”
Abulfaz Gurbanli doesn’t consider this arrest of a relatively unknown activist a coincidence, either. “Arresting well-known youth activists is just a headache for the authorities. We saw this when Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada were arrested. The government has changed its attitude to this now. It chooses activist that are unknown to the general public. It’s also not a coincidence that it is an activist from Sumgait that has been detained. This is to complicate organizing his defence.”
Orkhan Mansurzada, Speaker for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that it is wrong to politicize the issue.
“When you look at it, he is 20 years old. They want to categorize him as someone politically active. He’s not even a well-known figure. Also, the political activity is his personal business. This has nothing to do with the police’s incentives. The police is an organ to fight crime. It is outside politics. Police detained him on information they had obtained. Until he was detained, nobody was interested in which political party he is a member of, or his political activeness. In this sense, it is unacceptable to politicize this issue.”
A defence committee has already been formed to protect the youth activist’s rights.
Jabbar Savalan has been sentenced to 2 months preliminary detention. This information was given to “Media Forum” site by attorney Anar Gasimov.