Mekhman Guseinov, Baku, August 6, 2018. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the Caucasian Knot

05 January 2019, 01:30

US PEN International urges to stop new case against Mekhman Guseinov

The US PEN International (PEN America) has linked the new criminal case against the blogger Mekhman Guseinov with the suppression of the dissent in Azerbaijan. Guseinov, who is on hunger strike at the Baku SIZO (pre-trial prison) in protest against the new indictment, needs an urgent surgery, Shakhla Gumbatova, his advocate, has stated today.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 3, 15 persons were detained at the action in support of Mekhman Guseinov in Baku. On January 4, the court found eight of them guilty of violating the procedure for holding public events.

On December 26, the blogger Mekhman Guseinov announced a dry hunger strike in an Azerbaijani colony after he was made a figurant of a new criminal case initiated against him two months before the end of his prison term. On December 30, Guseinov, after being transferred to the SIZO (pre-trial prison), began drinking water.

"The escalation of Mekhman's prosecution just a few months before his release from prison is an inhuman step, revealing a desire to suppress the dissenting voices in Azerbaijan," said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director of a department of the PEN America. The organization that unites writers and journalists has called on Azerbaijani leadership to strip the new charge off Guseinov, give him a chance to contact his advocates and receive the adequate medical care, the "Turan" News Agency has quoted the PEN America today.

On the tenth day of his hunger strike, Mekhman Guseinov is very weak in a very grave condition, his advocate Shakhla Gumbatova told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent after visiting the blogger at the SIZO. "Mekhman said that on December 30 he lost consciousness. They called an ambulance to the SIZO; doctors said that his dry hunger strike caused dehydration and aggravated the illness; therefore, he urgently needs a surgery," Ms Gumbatova said.

Nevertheless, the blogger intends to continue his protest action until the charge of assaulting a colony employee is removed, the advocate has added.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 4, 2019 at 07:33 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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