The Working Group (WG) on Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan presents updated Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan. The update covers the period until 01 September 2018.
The list includes 130 names. Based on documents obtained, court observations and interviews, the Woking Group has already recognized 128of them as people arrested with political motivation – AS political prisoners; they include:
– 9 journalists and bloggers (Nijat Aliyev, Araz Guliyev, Seymur Hazi, Mehman Huseynov, Fikrat Faramazoglu, Afgan Mukhtarlı, Rashad Ramazanov, Elchin Ismayilli, Ziya Asadli),
– 1 poet (Tofig Hasanli),
– 1 human rights defender (Aliabbas Rustamov),
– 17 civil and political activists (Gozal Bayramli, Fuad Gahramanli, Mammad Ibrahim, Ilkin Rustamzade, Giyas Ibrahimov, Bayram Mammadov, Elgiz Gahraman, Asif Yusifli, Fuad Ahmadli, Alikram Khurshidov, Orxan Bakhishli, Mirfeyzulla Seyidov, Saleh Rustamov, Vidadi Rustamli, Agil Maharramov, Babak Hasanov, Ruslan Nasirov),
– 68 religious activists (Elkhan Bunyadov, Latif Ahmadov, Anar Aliyev, Sahil Rzayev, Niftali Valiyev, Taleh Baghirzade, Farhad Balayev, Jabbar Jabbarov, Rasim Jabrayilov, Ibrahim Khudaverdiyev, Agil Ismayilov, Etibar Ismayilov, Abbas Guliyev, Ali Nuriyev, Abbas Taghızade, Alibaba Valiyev, Ramin Yarıyev, Abbas Huseynov, Abulfaz Bunyadov, Jahad Babakishizade, Bahruz Askarov, Zakir Mustafayev, Shamil Abdulaliyev, Aga-ali Yahyayev, Elchin Gasimov, Elgun Akhundov, Vusal Alısh, Nahid Gahramanov, Alibey Shahbazov, Amirali Aliyev, Farhad Muradov, Ramil Aliyev, Seyfaddin Shirvanov, Isa Ibrahimov, Seymur Aslanov, Elkhan Isgandarov, Zulfugar Mikhayilov, Ruzi Ismayilov, Jabir Aliyev, Ramil Seyfullayev, Mubariz Ibrahimov, Elman Aghayev, Ali Huseynov, Eldar Bunyatov, Mehman Guliyev, Mehman Mammadov, Elkhan Hasanov, Mahammadali Akhundzade, Faig Allahverdiyev, Ahsan Nuruzade, Sahib Habibov, Aliasgar Jabbarov, Telman Shiraliyev, Rza Agali, Ziya Tahirov, Khalid Kazımov, Elvin Nasirov, Jeyhun Safarli, Elimkhan Huseynov, Gorkhmaz Jamalov, Dayanat Samadov, Firdovsi Mammadrzayev, Movsum Samadov, Rufulla Akhundzade, Faramiz Abbasov, Abgul Suleymanov, Elnur Javadov, Sardar Babayev),
– 3 life prisoners (Elchin Amiraslanov, Arif Kazimov və Shafa Poladov),
–14 persons arrested in the relation to social protests(1 person arrested for Ismayilli protests in 2013, 4 persons arrested for Mingachevir protests in 2015, 10 persons arrested for Siyazan protests in 2016: Vasif Ibrahimov, Ilkin Abdullayev, Ilgar Khalilov, Dilgam Mahmudzade, Kamran Abdullayev, Talib Aghamaliyev, Elchin Aliyev, Muslum Azimov, Joshgun Baghishov, Fariz Karimov, Nizami Ganiyev, Namig Mastanov, Zaur Shakarov, Abasat Suleymanov),
–2 former government officials (Ali Insanov və Rufat Safarov),
– 3 political hostages (Mubariz Abdullayev, Murad Adilov, Elnur Seyidov),
– 10 Said Dadashbayli and those arrestedwith him (Said Dadashbayli, Farid Aghayev, Jeyhun Aliyev, Rashad Aliyev, Mikayil Idrisov, Jahangir Karimov, Rasim Karimov, Samir Gojayev, Baybala Guliyev, Emil Mohbalıyev).
2 cases (Emin Saghiyev və Renad Aliyev) remain under monitoring, as their documents have not been available for studying and informed decision.
Those released during the report
After the Working Group delivered its last report of 22 March 2018, 22 persons from the Working Group’s list have been released. 20 of them were released by the President’s Pardon Decree (David Karimov, Elshad Rzayev, Valeh Abdullayev, Aliagha Gasimov, Hilal Jabbarov, Fail Shahbazov, Alakbar Gurbanov, Elnur Farajov, Saday Shakarli), 11 persons due to serving their whole sentence (Afgan Sadigov, Samir Huseynov, Tarlan Aghadadashov, Rovshan Allahverdiyev, Ilham Hatamov, Eldaniz Hajiyev, Motabar Babayev, Rasim Bunyadov, Alizohrab Rustamov, Cavanshir Taghiyev, Nasir Huseynov) and 2 persons (Aziz Orujov and Ilgar Mammadov) on probation. 8 new persons (Abulfaz Bunyadov, Mirfeyzulla Seyidov, Orkhan Bakhishli, Saleh Rustamov, Vidadi Rustamli, Agil Maharramov, Babak Hasanov, Ruslan Nasirli) were recognized by the Working Group as political prisoners.
Elnur Farajov, one of those released by the 22 March 2018 President’s Pardon Decree, was released due to his advanced cancer in his throat. He was treated with wrong diagnosis in prison, later it appeared he had cancer. He received, nevertheless, inadequate medical treatment. Finally, he was released when his cancer was in advanced stage. He died after two months and a half he was released.
Majority of those released by President’s Pardon Decree had served most of their whole sentence. Aliagha Huseynov had 9 days, Alakbar Gurbanov 12 days, David Karimov and Elshad Rzayev 2 months, Fail Shahbazov 3 months, Hilal Jabbarov 6 months left to be released.
Political prisoners left without advocates
The Working Group expresses gratitute to advocates who cooperated with and helped it gather information and documents on political prisoners. But due to intensified pressure and persecution against advocates starting the end of 2017, legal practise of some of them were suspended. On 22 November 2017, Azerbaijan Bar Association (ABA) Presidium requested the court to disbar the advocate, Yalchin Imanov. Until the court decision his legal practice was suspended by the ABA Presidium. By the 22 January 2018 decision of the Presidium, another advocate, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, by the 23 April 2018 decision of the ABA Asabali Mustafayev and Nemat Karimli were suspended from legal practice for one year term.
Discussions on political prisoner problem in Council of Europe (CoE)
On 24 April 2018, 24 deputies of PACE under Pieter Omtzigt’s leadership, the MP from Netherlands, requested to prepare new report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan and appoint a new rapporteur. They reasoned their request that there were strong corruption allegations raising doubts on failure of being adopted the 2013 report on political prisoners presented by Christoph Strasser, the MP and rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan. As a ground for the doubts they referred to the Report of the Independent Investigation Body on the allegations of corruption within the Parliamentary Assembly. PACE Procedure Committee imposed a sanction against 4 MPs mentioned in the report – Pedro Argamunt (Spain) for 10 years and Samad Seyidov (head of delegation of Azerbaijan to Council of Europe), Sezar Florin Preda (Romania) and Jordi Xucla (Spain) for two years. During these terms, they were deprived of some rights including being rapporteur, standing for key positions, observing elections.
On 31 May 2018, PACE Bureau adopted the request of MPs group led by Pieter Omtzig. On June 2018, Legal and Human Rights Committee of PACE appointed Thorhildur Sunna Evarsdottir, the MP from Iceland, as a rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan. She has to prepare a new report on political prisoners of Azerbaijan.
Number of persons arrested on politically-motivated charges are higher than those in the list
The Working Group regretfully states, that the real number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan is much higher than could be reflected in the document as many cases are under-reported due to the fear of further repression. Another problem is lack of legal education, defence lawyers, who agree to undertake political cases and lack of defence mechanisms, especially in rural regions of Azerbaijan.
The Working Group also finds it necessary to clarify the issue with the cases of Life-long prisoners. There are 16 life prisoners who are included in some other lists of political prisoners. One of them died in prison in 2015, twelve others were recognized by CoE experts as non-political prisoners. After long discussions, the Working Group decided to include only three out of 16 life prisoners to the Unified List of Political Prisoners. However, the Group advocates for the change of the punishment to the certain prison term for all life-long prisoners.
Brief information about the Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan
The goal of preparing the Unified List of Political Prisoners is to define the common position on people whose arrests were politically motivated, consolidate the efforts for their release in the country and internationally.
The Updated List is a result of the research based on information and documents obtained by the WG members, or submitted to the Group, court observations and trustworthy media reports.
Decision on recognition as political prisoner is based on criteria defined in the October 3, 2012 Resolution #1900 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
“A person deprived of his or her personal liberty is to be regarded as a ‘political prisoner’:
- if the detention has been imposed in violation of one of the fundamental guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols (ECHR), in particular freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association;
- if the detention has been imposed for purely political reasons without connection to any offence;
- if, for political motives, the length of the detention or its conditions are clearly out of proportion to the offence the person has been found guilty of or is suspected of;
- if, for political motives, he or she is detained in a discriminatory manner as compared to other persons; or,
- if the detention is the result of proceedings which were clearly unfair and it appears to be connected with political motives of the authorities”.”
The decision on recognition of the case as politically motivated followed long discussions on the matters and documents. When the political motivation was obviously seen in the court decisions on detention, statements of the law-enforcement agencies and the country leadership, The Working Group have regarded the case as political prisoner, without waiting for a trial hearing on the case.
The list is signed by famous human rights defenders, media, NGO and other representatives of the Civil Society.
Contact of coordinators of the List:
Rasul Jafarov – email@example.com
Intigam Aliyev – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Working Group
on Unified List Of Political Prisoners