Will MEPs help political prisoners in Azerbaijan?

, 2014-11-18

Czech NGO NESEHNUTÍ sends an appeal to all Members of European Parliament. The NGO asks them to join the appeal to release political prisoners in Azerbaijan addressed to the President of Azerbaijan.

In South Caucasus in Azerbaijan, a hundred of political prisoners are in jail at the moment. The current list of political prisoners in this country can be found in this document. They are human rights defenders, independent journalists, artists, opposition politicians, religious representatives and members of youth organizations. This summer also those who spoke about the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and provided them help ended up behind bars. Ironically, the Caucasian dictatorship escalated repressions at the time when Azerbaijan was chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

In the Czech Republic, Amnesty International, People in Need and NESEHNUTÍ address the issue of violation of human rights by the Azerbaijan regime. NESEHNUTÍ launched a campaign the goal of which is to help those who were detained unlawfully by the dictatorship in Azerbaijan. Besides organizing public events (information kiosks, travelling exhibition, public debates, sending letters to prisoners, publishing information materials), NESEHNUTÍ also lobbies for human rights at the Czech and European level. This summer, NESEHNUTÍ organized a meeting of Azerbaijani human rights activist with some of the Czech MPs, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and with a number of Czech candidates for MEPs. Some of these candidates were elected to become members of the European Parliament.

For this reason, NESEHNUTÍ appeals not only to Czech representatives in the European Parliament, but all the MEPs, and asks them to support the appeal to Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan. The authors of the appeal demand release of Intigam Aliyev and Rasul Jafarov, two human rights defenders who were arrested in August this year and are still kept in jail without a trial on the basis of fabricated accusations of tax evasions, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power.

Intigam Aliyev is a lawyer who worked on a number of cases concerning violations of human rights in the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg; among other, Rasul Jafarov was working on a list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and he ended up on the list himself. This September, European Parliament adopted a very critical Resolution No. 2014/2832 on persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.

‘We appeal to the MEPs in order to personally stand up to the lawlessness of the oil dictatorship in Azerbaijan. We would like them to appeal in their own name to the President of Azerbaijan to release the particular political prisoners who have become a symbol of the unlawfully persecuted in this country of the Caucasus’, Petra Havlíková from NESEHNUTÍ explains the purpose of this action. Four hundred people have signed the appeal so far. Citizens of Azerbaijan themselves support political prisoners – see a thousand-people action in the capital of Azerbaijan Baku.

‘I have already sent my appeal to the President of Azerbaijan to release the unlawfully persecuted, and I believe I will not remain alone among other Czech MEPs. I am a co-author of the European Parliament resolution on persecution of human rights defenders in this country. I shall continue to act against such practice’, said Pavel Telička (ANO), one of the first Czech MEPs who signed the appeal.


Petra Havlíková, NESEHNUTÍ, petra@nesehnuti.cz, phone: +420 732 854 435

Attachment: a letter to the Members of the European Parliament, 18 November 2014