15 April 2019, 15:44

Activists call on Azerbaijani Prosecutor's Office to release political prisoners

In the course of the campaign "Free all!", Azerbaijani activists sent petitions to the Prosecutor's Office with a call to assist in the early release of more than 30 political prisoners.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in March, activists launched a campaign in social networks with demand to the President of Azerbaijan to release all political prisoners on the occasion of the Nowruz holiday. The initiators of the action state that the authorities began to listen to public opinion and follow it through social networks.

"We have achieved our goal partially, and about 50 political prisoners were released by the presidential order. However, more than 70 other remain in prisons," explained Rasul Djafarov, the head of the Human Rights Club.

According to him, over 40 people may be released if a new pardon order is signed.

Thorhildur Aevarsdóttir, a rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan, has noted that some of the recently released were again arrested for political reasons, for example, activist Bairam Mamedov.

Stefan Schennach (Austria), a Monitoring Committee co-rapporteur for Azerbaijan, has added that charges of drug possession or tax evasion are most often used in Azerbaijan against political prisoners, the "contact.az" reports.

In February 2017, the Azerbaijani President signed a decree on the humanization of punishment, which suggested using alternative methods of punishment, noted Anar Mamedli, the head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS).

According to him, such a mechanism can be used in regard to political prisoners who have served most of their punishment terms. Anar Mamedli believes the release of all political prisoners would improve the image of Azerbaijan.

The authorities spend a lot of money on their PR abroad, but until they release the last political prisoner, their image will remain stained, Anar Mamedli states.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 15, 2019 at 02:29 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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