Viasna demands immediate release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has pardoned 148 people serving jail terms. Several human rights defenders and opposition activists and politicians were among those pardoned in the amnesty decree signed by Aliyev on March 17, according to rferl.org.
The pardon list includes: human rights campaigner Rasul Jafarov; the head of a local election monitoring group Anar Mammadli; youth activists from NIDA movement Rashad Hasanov, Rashadat Akhundov, Mammad Azizov, and Omar Mammadov; human rights defenders Taleh Khasmamedov and Hilal Mammadov; opposition Musavat party deputy chair Tofig Yagublu; journalists Parviz Hashimli and Yadigar Mammadli; also a blogger Siraj Karimov.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” welcomed the release of their colleagues in Azerbaijan, but note:
“Not all political prisoners, human rights defenders and journalists were released today. There are still many people behind bars, who are being persecuted for political reasons. Among them one of the most authoritative defenders Intiqam Aliyev, whose health has deteriorated significantly, and well-known journalist Khadija Ismayilova. We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan!”