Azerbaijan’s political prisoners count soars: 34 individuals added to the list since April

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The Azerbaijan Freedom for Political Prisoners Union has published an expanded list featuring the names of 34 new individuals who are currently incarcerated on political grounds.

The revised list now contains a total of 204 names, marking a significant rise from the previous tally of 182, as disclosed back in April.

Among the notable names added to the list are Gubad Ibadoglu, the prominent leader of the Azerbaijan Democratic and Prosperity Party, and Nazim Beydamirli, a former deputy, respected social activist, and successful entrepreneur.

The list further includes fresh faces who have been detained on charges related to drug trafficking between April and July. With these new additions, the count of religiously-affiliated political detainees has now reached 147.

Divided into seven distinct groups, the list features journalists and bloggers like Polad Aslanov, Osman Nerimanoglu, and a trio of bloggers – Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Rashad Ramazanov, and Aslan Gurbanov.

Additionally, the roster incorporates members of opposition parties and movements, with seven individuals, including active Azerbaijan Popular Front Party members such as Elizamin Salayev, Niyamaddin AhmAdov, Shahin Hajiyev, and Aqil Humbatov.

Five individuals, who were deported from Germany as political refugees, form another distinct group.

Notably, the “Tartar case” accounts for seven individuals, and the “Ganja case” involves 22 individuals. Moreover, one person on the list is serving a life sentence.

Since November 2018, the compilation of the Azerbaijan Freedom for Political Prisoners list has been the collaborative effort of Leyla Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, and Elshan Hasanov, the head of the Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners.

The latest update marks the first time that the list has crossed the 200-name threshold, drawing further attention to the situation of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani government staunchly denies the presence of political prisoners in the country, dismissing such claims as biased. Authorities assert that fundamental rights are fully upheld, emphasizing that individuals are not targeted based on their will and beliefs.

This issue has garnered international attention, with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopting a resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan in 2021.

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