Viasna demands immediate release of human rights defender Intiqam Aliyev in Azerbaijan
Representatives of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" have joined Amnesty International’s action, writing to the Azerbaijani ambassador in Belarus about the recent deterioration of health of Azerbaijani prisoner of conscience Intiqam Aliyev.
By launching an urgent action, Al’s Russian office called on its supporters worldwide to send their letters to Azerbaijani embassies asking the country’s authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the prominent human rights defender.
According to Amnesty International, Intiqam Aliyev’s health has deteriorated due to lack of adequate medical care in pre-trial prison in Kurdexani, 20 km south of Baku, where he is being held. This prison is known for its pressure on other civil society activists, including former prisoner of conscience Leyla Yunus, who said that during her detention she was threatened and ill-treated.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" has been following the case of Intiqam Aliyev and other Azerbaijani activists since their arrests in 2014. According to the organization’s head Ales Bialiatski, one can carry out a number of analogies between Belarus and Azerbaijan: both the human rights situation and the persecution of human rights defenders. Viasna leader also stresses that during his imprisonment Intiqam Aliyev spoke in his defense demanding to release the Belarusian prisoner of conscience.
“We can really feel this similarity of authoritarian regimes in our countries, which persecute human rights defenders for their work. And I must say that one of the charges against Intiqam, tax evasion, is exactly what I faced back in 2011.
Intiqam Aliyev is one of a number of Azerbaijani human rights defenders who have been imprisoned in recent years. This indicates that the situation in which human rights organizations and prominent defenders have to work is simply critical. Despite these people’s poor health, they are being held in prisons, which actually amounts to torture, because of the terrible conditions of detention there. And even if they are released from prison, they are in critical condition.”
“We express our solidarity with our Azerbaijani colleagues. And this appeal is aimed to offer our moral support to the prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan, as well as to urge the country’s authorities demand the release of our colleagues. It's uncivilized, unproductive, it is what exposes the Azerbaijani government in a negative light,” says an appeal sent by the Belarusian human rights defenders to Isfandiyar Vahabzadeh, Azerbaijani ambassador to Belarus.
On February 24, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan is expected to hear Intiqam Aliyev’s appeal against the sentence of 7.5 years in prison. According the prisoner’s son, the authorities have been putting pressure on his father, forcing him to sign a confession and request President’s pardon. However, Intiqam Aliyev refuses to admit his guilt.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" also encourages concerned people from Belarus and all over the world to join the urgent action in support of the prisoner of conscience, human rights activist Intiqam Aliyev.