In all, three charges were brought against Movsum Samadov yesterday - group involvement in the illegal possession of weapons, attempting to seize power by force and preparing an act of terror (Criminal Code Articles 228.3, 278 and 28.214 respectively).
Samadov was arrested on 7 January as he left the Islamic Party office and accused of resisting the police. He was given a 13-day period of detention which expired yesterday. The three new charges were brought against him yesterday evening and a three-month period of detention imposed.
Samadov's lawyer, Anar Gasimov, told Turan/Contact news agency that the charges had been announced by the Interior Ministry’s Organized Crime Department. The inquiry will be conducted by the Grave Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office and the inquiry team will include representatives of the interior and national security ministries.
The three-months' custody was sanctioned by Judge Elman Ahmadov of Baku's Nasimi District Court.
Movsum Samadov denies his guilt on all of the charges and is preparing to appeal against the decision to keep him in custody, his lawyer said.
A few days before his arrest, Samadov harshly criticized the Azerbaijani leadership at a party congress.
On 8 January, Samadov's cousin Dayanat Samadov, was arrested in the northern town of Guba. The Interior Ministry and Prosecutor's Office said they had confiscated weapons and ammunition from his home. Dayanat Samadov has been charged with the illegal possession of arms (Article 228.1), a charge which he denies, and is being held in custody for two months.
The Islamic Party's deputy chairman, Vagif Abdullayev, was arrested on 18 January and is being held in custody for three months on charges of plotting a crime in an organized group, illegal possession of weapons and attempting to seize power by force (Criminal Code Articles 126.96.36.199,228.3 and 278 respectively).
Ali Hasanov, head of the public policy department at the Presidential Administration, commented on the case in an interview with Azerbaijani website 1news.az today.
Asked about opposition descriptions of Samadov's arrest as the start of persecution of the opposition as a whole, Hasanov said: "Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani opposition has still not given up this mode of thinking and is continuing to think in the same vein, i.e. the opposition is trying to use all means against the government, even when they go against the national interests of Azerbaijan."
"Now they are trying to stir up something new in the hope of repeating the events in Tunis. This shows that the opposition does not have a stable programme and principles," Hasanov continued.
"Support for even religious extremism is a continuation of this mode of thinking by the opposition."