A participant of a protest action in Baku. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

06 April 2021, 11:33

Azerbaijan: rights defenders update list of political prisoners

The Union "For Freedom of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners" has released an updated list of those convicted for political reasons, which includes 111 persons. This year's March pardoning failed in solving the problem, since only 38 persons from the previous list were set free.

"The March President's pardoning affected 625 people; and 475 of them were set free from jails, but only 38 of them were political prisoners," said Elshan Gasanov, the head of the Centre for Monitoring Political Prisoners.

According to his story, out of the above released 38 political prisoners, 28 are believers convicted for the Nardaran events of 2015, and three are figurants in the "Ganja case".

At the same time, the blogger, Elchin Gasanzade, and another blogger, Ibragim Salamov (Tyurksoi), both convicted of defamation, as well as Nidjat Ibragim, an activist, have been added to the list.

"Political repressions in Azerbaijan have not stopped for 28 years; they began immediately after the return to power in 1993 of the former KGB General Geidar Aliev. In 2003, his son Ilham Aliev replaced his father; and the repressions against dissidents continued," said Leyla Yunus, Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD).

Samira Agaeva, a deputy head of the D18 movement, believes that the presidential pardoning decree failed to fundamentally solve the problem of political prisoners. In her opinion, the pressure from the international community can contribute to an efficient solution thereof.

Namizad Safarov, the coordinator of the Centre against Repressions and Torture, has noted that Azerbaijani authorities are interested in preserving the problem of political prisoners, as this "follows from the nature of the authoritarian regime reigning in the country – it uses politically motivated arrests as an intimidation tool."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 6, 2021 at 05:20 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid Source: CK correspondent

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