BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — A court In Azerbaijan has released an opposition activist whose imprisonment has drawn international criticism.
The appeals court in Shaki in northwestern Azerbaijan ruled Monday that Ilgar Mammadov, the leader of the opposition REAL movement, be freed on two-year probation. Mammadov's lawyer, Fuad Agayev, welcomed his release but said that his client would appeal the ruling to demand a full exoneration.
Mammadov has been behind bars since his arrest in February 2013, and in the following year he was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of inciting mass riots.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2014 that Mammadov was punished for criticizing authorities, and ordered his release.
International rights groups have repeatedly criticized Azerbaijan for cracking down on independent media and opposition activists.