Rally participants hold portraits of arrested members of ‘Nida’ youth organization, Baku, October 25, 2015. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the ‘Caucasian Knot’.

18 March 2016, 02:56

Azerbaijan: pardoning fails to solve problem of political prisoners, rights defenders assert

The decree on pardoning issued by the President of Azerbaijan has not solved the problem of political prisoners in the country. Despite the release of a number of activists and journalists, 90 percent of political prisoners stay in prisons, rights defenders report.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on March 17, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev signed a decree to pardon 148 people, including 14 well-known political prisoners, such as Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mamedli, Talekh Khasmamedov, Hilal Mamedov, and others.

The Monitoring Centre of Political Prisoners (MCPP) has submitted to the Commission for Pardons under the President a list of 107 political prisoners, but the pardoning affected only a small part of the prisoners on the list, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was informed by Elshan Gasanov, the leader of the MCPP on March 17.

"The list of the pardoned political prisoners did not include Ilgar Mamedov, the leader of the movement 'Republican Alternative', and Ali Insanov, the former Health Minister. Spouses Leyla and Arif Yunus were also not pardoned. Despite the fact that their imprisonment terms were replaced with conditional sentence, they may not go abroad for medical treatment. And journalist Khadidja Ismayilova, the only female political prisoner, remains in custody," Elshan Gasanov has added.

According to him, the pardon did not meet the expectations of the society and rights defenders. "We expected pardoning for at least 65-70 political prisoners. Unfortunately, the number of pardoned prisoners includes none of the category of 'religious activists', although it is the largest group among the political prisoners," noted the leader of the MCPP.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medzhid Source: CK correspondent

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