In Azerbaijan, many releases but not Intigam Aliyev and Ismayilova

March 18, 2016

This blog has had many occasions to be negative about Azerbaijan [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/azerbaijan/], but this time some good news: President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan signed a decree yesterday (17 March 2016) for the Novruz holiday, pardoning 148 prisoners, among them thirteen journalists, human rights defenders and activists. 2014_Azerbaijan_Jaforov

Human rights defender Rasul Jafarov at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Baku in June 2014.  ©2014 Aziz Karimov

The list includes: human rights campaigner Rasul Jafarov; the head of a local election monitoring group Anar Mammadli; youth activists from NIDA movement Rashad Hasanov, Rashadat Akhundov, Mammad Azizov, and Omar Mammadov; human rights defenders Taleh Khasmamedov and Hilal Mammadov; opposition Musavat party deputy chair Tofig Yagublu; journalists Parviz Hashimli and Yadigar Mammadli; also a blogger Siraj Karimov. Also today, the Baku Appeals Court converted a six-year prison sentence imposed on journalist Rauf Mirgadirov to a five-year suspended term, and released him from the courtroom.

While this is a great moment for those released, among those still behind bars on bogus charges are: political analyst Ilgar Mammadov, in defiance of the European Court of Human Rights decision on his case and the repeated calls by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to free him; human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev; and Azerbaijan’s prominent investigative journalist, Khadija Ismayilova. Also youth activist Ilkin Rustamzadeh and journalist Seymur Hazi.

We are overjoyed for the journalists, human rights defenders, and activists who were released today after being imprisoned for exercising their basic rights of free speech and free assembly,” said Nenad Pejic, Radio Free Europe editor in chief. “But Khadija should have been among them”. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/azerbaijan-khadija-ismayilova-remains-in-jail-but-council-of-europe-takes-exceptional-step/] In recent correspondence with RFE/RL, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who will represent Ismayilova before the European Court of Human Rights, said that “the case involved a politically motivated prosecution to restrict [Ismayilova’s] freedom of speech… This is about a government that is abusing its power to silence journalists like Khadija, as well as other critics of the ruling regime.

 

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/17/dispatches-good-news-azerbaijan-change

In Azerbaijan, No Pardon For Ismayilova

2 Responses to “In Azerbaijan, many releases but not Intigam Aliyev and Ismayilova”


  1. […] activists are still unjustly behind bars (such as Ilgar Mammadov, and Khadijah Ismayilova). See: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/azerbaijan-pardon-jafarov-ismayilova-aliyev/. Is the enormous amount of pressure by human rights groups finally paying […]


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