This article was originally published in Russian by
On November 26, the Azerbaijan Civil Society Working Group published a new list of political prisoners which includes 119 individuals.
There were 94 individuals on the previous list published on October 17. Of the 25 new political prisoners, 24 are believed to be religious prisoners arrested on various criminal charges in connection with the events in Nardaran. Another, a religious activist from Ganja.
In the 111-page report, political prisoners are divided up into six groups.
The ‘Journalists/Bloggers’ group includes bloggers Abdul Abilov and Rashad Ramazanov, and journalists Seymur Hazi, Araz Guliyev, Nijat Aliyev, and Fikrat Faramazoglu.
The ‘Writers/Poets’ group mentions the satirical poet Tofiq Hasanli and writer Saday Shakarli.
Also, the ‘Human Rights Defenders’ category includes the lawyer Aliabbas Rustamov, head of the Yasavul Law Firm, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of bribery.
The ‘Youth Activists’ group includes five people: Ilkin Rustamzada and Elgiz Gahraman – members of the NIDA movement; Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov – the activists that wrote graffiti on a monument to Heydar Aliyev, and also Elvin Abdullayev, an activist of the Azerbaijan People’s Front Party (APFP).
There are also five individuals in the ‘Politicians, Political Party Activists’ category: Zeynalabdin Bagirzada, Fuad Gahramanli, Mammad Ibrahim, and Asif Yusifli – members of the APFP; and also Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the Republican Alternative movement.
The ‘Lifetime Prisoners’ category includes three former members of the Special Purpose Police Detachment (SPPD), Elchin Amiraslanov, Arif Kazimov, and Safa Poladov, who were given a death sentence in connection with the SPPD revolt of March 1995. Their execution by firing squad was later substituted with life imprisonment.
In the ‘Others’ category are included those arrested in connection with the Hizmet Movement and its leader, Fethullah Gulen: Faiq Amirli and Fuad Ahmadli, former Minister of Health Ali Insanov, Rufat Safarov – a former investigator in the Zardab District Prosecutor’s Office, and others.
In the ‘Others’ group there is also a sub-group titled ‘Political Hostages’, which includes those arrested for the political activities of their relatives. Here we are talking about Elnur Seyidov (Ali Karimli’s brother-in-law), Murad Adilov (brother of Natig Adilov, an opposition journalist and political émigré), Mubariz Abdullayev (nephew of Elshad Abdullayev, a political émigré and former rector of the private Azerbaijan International University), and Rufat Zahidov and Rovshan Zayidov (relatives of Ganimat Zahid, the editor-in-chief of
The largest group is ‘Religious Activists’, which includes several groups arrested as part of various criminal cases in connection with the events in Nardaran, six believers convicted for participating in the “Freedom for Hijab” protest, five figures related to the case of the Islamic Party and its leader Movsum Samadov, ten believers convicted in the ‘Said Dadashbayli group’ case, and three people convicted as followers of the Gulen movement.
In addition to the 119 people recognized as political prisoners, the cases of another 25 people are being monitored as potential political prisoners.
The working group emphasizes that the number of political prisoners is, in reality, significantly greater.
“However, the reactionary environment in the country encourages many to refrain from drawing public attention to their cases. The other problem is legal illiteracy and a dearth of lawyers. The situation in the countryside is especially bad, where there are no legal defense mechanisms”, reads a statement from the working group.
In compiling the list, the authors were guided by criteria set by the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe Resolution 1900 of October 3, 2012.
The new list was signed by more than twenty human rights defenders, leaders of NGOs and lawyers.
The list can be viewed in
PDF format here.