Helsinki Commission issued a statement regarding the detention of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Illustration: Meydan TV

“We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to treat Hajiyev humanely”

Chairman of the Helsinki Commission Joe Wilson and co-chairman Senator Ben Cardin made a statement after the news about the sharp deterioration of the condition of Azerbaijani civil society activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev.

The message expresses the completely unjustified detention and ill-treatment of the Azerbaijani civil activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, who was imprisoned on trumped-up charges and whose health deteriorated sharply while continuing his hunger strike:

“Not only is his punishment by the Azerbaijani regime completely disproportionate to the charges brought against him, but it is not the first time that he has been subjected to pressure, detention, and violence as a result of his legitimate activities.”

The document states that Azerbaijan has been an important partner of the United States and is of great importance for energy opportunities in the world. However, the central understanding is the mutual recognition of the basic principles of human rights:

“This applies both to Mr. Hajiyev and to many other political prisoners. We join our colleagues in the Administration and Europe in calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure humane treatment and human rights for Mr. Hajiyev, and to return to his internal and external obligations within the framework of the Helsinki Principles”.

On February 20, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev’s lawyer Agil Layj announced that the public activist was in a mortal condition because of his continued hunger strike. He was brought to the court in a cart designed for people with disabilities and vomited on the way.

Hajiyev was transferred to the treatment facility of the Chief Medical Department of the Ministry of Justice on February 10 and announced that he gave up water on February 16.

The social activist was arrested on December 9 last year on charges of hooliganism and contempt of court. The incident that led to this accusation happened earlier in the court of the criminal case against the activist regarding the claim of defamation. He does not agree with this charge.

On December 15, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev announced a hunger strike demanding his release.

After calls from some members of the public and family members, he announced that he had stopped his hunger strike on December 28, yet ten days later he announced that he resumed the action.

It is claimed that the public activist is accused of hooliganism and contempt of court because a video of him in court was leaked, in which he throws some papers on a table aggressively. However, Hajiyev claims that the Minister of Internal Affairs Vilayat Eyvazov was arrested by order. From time to time, he criticized Vilayat Eyvazov and the activities of the ministry on his social media accounts.

The social activist said that in April 2022, he was abducted by unknown persons in the center of the capital and subjected to violence.

Although a criminal case has been initiated, the perpetrators have not been found yet.

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