Amnesty International launched a petition in support of detained NIDA Civic Movement members on April 8.
The call for action
posted on their website
, tells the story of Shahin Novruzlu, the youngest political prisoner in Azerbaijan. Novruzlu, 18, was presumably arrested for his online activity, in particular, for creating a Facebook group that called for peaceful protest. He was detained together with seven other members of NIDA: Rashadat Akundov, Mammad Azizov, Bakhtiyar Guliyev, Zaur Gurbanli, Rashad Hasanov, Uzeyir Mammadli and Ilkin Rustamzade.
“Some of them were tortured. As a result, Shahin, who was 17 years old at the time, lost four of his front teeth. His friend Mammad [Azizov] lost hearing in one ear,” read the statement. Earlier this week Azizov
applied to the European Court of Human Rights
demanding recognition of torture and appropriate compensation from Azerbaijani government.
The ruling on the NIDA case is expected sometime before the end of May. If convicted, young men are facing up to 12 years of prison. They are charged with illegal possession of firearms and plotting mass disorder.
“Meanwhile, on 14 May, Azerbaijan will assume chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s decision-making body, the Committee of Ministers. This organization is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights across Europe. Azerbaijan will be providing leadership in this organization during the next six months. In the meantime in Azerbaijan itself, arbitrary arrest, torture and unfair trials are a reality. Those who express criticism and organize peaceful protests go to prison,” Amnesty International wrote.