Azerbaijan activists pay $8,000 fine in 400 kg of coins

Pro-democracy activists in Azerbaijan Thursday paid an $8,000 fine owed to the authorities in 400 kilogrammes of small change collected by supporters, in an ironic protest against the regime of President Ilham Aliyev.

The activists handed over 85,000 coins to the state treasury to pay the authorities for a fine imposed by the courts for their attendance at an unsanctioned rally earlier this month.

The fine in small change had been collected by thousands of their supporters in a snub to Aliyev's regime which has long been accused of stifling free speech, jailing opponents and crushing dissent.

"With this campaign we have been seeking social solidarity and we have achieved the goal -- thousands of people made contributions," said one of the campaign organisers, Narmin Ragimova.

The young activists have been fined 6,500 Azerbaijani manats ($8,280/6,100 euros) in total for participating in the January 12 protest against frequent instances of non-combat deaths in Azerbaijan's army.