Gobustan closed prison in Azerbaijan. Photo by Kyamal Ali for the "Caucasian Knot"

04 May 2021, 23:58

Human rights defenders call on President Aliev to pardon political prisoners

More than 100 political prisoners remain in Azerbaijani prisons, announces the human rights organization “Line of Defence”. The NGO urges President Ilham Aliev to time the pardoning of political prisoners to the holy month of Ramadan. Other human rights defenders supported the call.

The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that on March 18, President Aliev signed a pardon decree, which affected 625 people, and 475 of them were released from prisons. Only 38 released were political prisoners, notes the “Union for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan”. The NGO released an updated list of the persons sentenced for political reasons, which included 111 people.

“Today, a large number of activists have faced politically motivated criminal cases ... Arrests of citizens on trumped-up charges because of their activities are detrimental to the political process in the country and the rule of law,” the human rights defenders emphasize in their appeal.

The immediate release of those people “is very important for solving the country’s problems and preventing pressure from abroad,” the human rights defenders’ appeal states.

According to Rufat Safarov, the executive director of the NGO “Line of Defence”, Azerbaijani top-ranking officials believe that under the pretext of protecting human rights, some unfriendly external forces try to discredit Azerbaijan, put pressure on the country, and interfere in its internal affairs.

Elshan Gasanov, the co-coordinator of the “Union for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan”, considers the Ramadan holiday “an excellent opportunity for the release of political prisoners.”

The Baku Human Rights Club also stands for the release of both political prisoners and the people sentenced not for political reasons, but “with flagrant violations of the law,” says Rasul Djafarov, the head of the NGO.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 4, 2021 at 12:59 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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