Amnesty International is calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation into the deaths of Mahir Mustafayev and Mehman Galandarov.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on May 4 that the Azerbaijani government had violated the right to life of Mahir Mustafayev without protecting his life and without conducting an effective investigation into the circumstances of his death.
Mustafayev died of severe burns as a result of a mysterious fire in his cell in December 2006.
It was alleged that the warders themselves set fire to the camera to hide his murder.
Mustafayev was taken to the hospital 8 hours after the fire. The European Court considered this case as a failure of the government to protect Mustafayev’s life.
This decision of the European Court was made a week after the Azerbaijani activist and blogger Mehman Galandarov was found dead in his prison cell in Kurdamany on April 28, 2017.
He was arrested on February 7, 2017, shortly after he wrote on his Facebook page a status in support of two prisoners of conscience imprisoned for inscriptions on a monument to Heydar Aliyev in the center of Baku.
According to the authorities, Galandarov hung himself around noon while his cellmate was asleep.
Local human rights activists who had previously been in the same prison for more than a year argue that this could not have taken place in that facility.
The staff of the penitentiary service initially denied reports of Galandarov’s suicide, and admitted to the fact only after two days.
Galandarov was buried secretly, however, journalists and representatives of civil society in the morgue saw bruises and signs of trauma on his body.
After a forensic medical examination on April 30, the prosecutor’s office began a criminal investigation with an emphasis on incitement to suicide. According to the forensic report, no signs of violence were found on his body except strangulation left by the material with which he allegedly hung himself.
The Azerbaijani authorities should conduct a new independent investigation in the case of Mustafayev and Galandarov within the framework of international standards, the statement from Amnesty International said.
Amnesty International regularly records facts of trumped-up charges of drug possession against critics of the authorities.