Police detaining activists in Baku. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the Caucasian Knot

23 January 2021, 17:30

Azerbaijan: decrease in number of political prisoners is no guarantee of real easing of authorities' policies

The decrease in the number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan does not yet indicate any change in authorities' policies towards their opponents, the human rights defenders interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent believe.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that over the past five months the number of political prisoners has decreased by 46 and amounted to 146 persons, the Union "For Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan" has counted.

It is too early to state the decrease in the number of political prisoners and the mitigation of this problem, said Namizad Safarov, the coordinator of the Committee against Repressions and Torture.

"Formally, the number of political prisoners has decreased. But this is because those released had their prison terms over; and also those who took part on July 14-15, 2020, in protest actions demanding the liberation of the occupied territories," Mr Safarov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

According to his story, the number of political prisoners in the country is higher than in the lists.

Anar Mamedli, the head of the Centre for Monitoring Elections and Democracy Training (CMEDT), has noted that despite the termination of politically motivated arrests in recent months, there is no reason to talk about a steady trend towards softening the policy pursued by Azerbaijani authorities.

"Political repressions will only be stopped when there is an independent judiciary, which will stop fulfilling the orders received from the presidential administration or local executive bodies," Mr Mamedli told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 23, 2021 at 09:57 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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