Activist Released, Forced to Bow to Heydar Aliyev’s Grave

Young activist, Dashqin Malikov, who suffers from asthma, was released on May 8 after more than a year in prison.

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Young activist, Dashqin Malikov, who suffers from asthma, was released on May 8 after more than a year in prison and forced to bow to the grave of Heydar Aliyev. His father said if remained in prison, Malikov could have died.

Facebook activist Malikov was arrested in March, 2013 and released on May 8, 2014. The former Popular Front member, who was recognized as a prisoner of consciousness by the Amnesty International, was charged with illegal drug possession and sentenced to 2 years and 6 months of imprisonment by the Sumqait City Court. Presumable arrested for his political views, Malikov resigned from the Popular Front party and joined the ruling YAP party while in custody.

Upon release from the prison, Dashqin Malikov visited the late president Heydar Aliyev’s grave together with his father Alisafa Malikov. In his interview to Meydan TV, Alisafa Malikov mentioned that his son was hesitating and did not want to visit the grave in the first place: “Then he went there, opposing press coverage, but a photo shoot was arranged nevertheless”.

Alisafa Malikov also expressed his opinion on whether his son was pressured to do it or not:

“I can not comment on the matter. You know, my son’s health was already poor, he had 1 year and 5 months more of the prison sentence, and his increasingly worsening health conditions could have had a lethal outcome. Just imagine that within a year he has been placed four times in the Penitentiary service’s treatment facilities. He suffered from asthma so much that his back and chest bones were deformed. He was in a constant need for medications. We have been spending $120-180 on his medications monthly.”

Mr. Malikov also mentioned the financial difficulties their family has been facing due to Dashqin’s treatment.

Human Rights defender, Leyla Yunus, who talked with Meydan TV on Dashqin’s visit to the grave of the late president Aliyev upon his release from the prison, pointed out that the young man should by no means be accused for this action. Ms. Yunus called shame on politicians, who humiliate their opponents:

“A politician would not do it, he would rather find a more diplomatic and intelligent way. From what we have read, we all know that only criminal authorities would break someone to humiliate them. Mafia dons would make you kneel in front of them, kiss the hem of their clothes, or rings on their fingers to break them. This is unacceptable in a political struggle. Azerbaijan is governed by a criminal regime, therefore, criminal as oppose to the political norms are in action. Look, would a normal person force someone to bow down in front of his father’s grave?”

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