Imprisoned opposition politician and head of REAL Movement Ilgar Mammadov is in critical condition, reported REAL Executive Secretary Natiq Jafarli on March 22 on his personal Facebook page after he spoke with Mammadov on the phone.
“I’ve received word from the Head of REAL movement Ilgar Mammadov. He called this morning: he has waist and muscle pain, it is hard for him to walk or speak. He wants foreign doctors to see him immediately. We have already spoken to the Red Cross and other organizations about his condition and have requested immediate medical assistance”, the Facebook post reads.
Mammadov was arrested in February 2013 on charges of organizing and participating in protests that took place in Ismayilli region located about 200 km east from Baku one month earlier.
After a lengthy trial, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison in March of 2014.
His recent appeal to the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan was rejected in November of 2016, despite a former ruling of the European Court of Human Rights demanding his release:
Leader of the opposition movement REAL since its establishment in 2009, Mammadov was a candidate in the
of October 2013. His arrest has been widely seen as politically motivated.
“The case has all the hallmarks of a politically motivated prosecution”,
David Diaz-Jogeix, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia soon after Mammadov arrest in 2013.
On May 22, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that Mammadov’s arrest was unjustified and specifically it recognised violations of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security), Article 5 § 4 (right to judicial review of one’s detention), Article 6 § 2 (presumption of innocence) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The court considered that Mammadov, who had a history of criticizing the government, had been arrested and detained without any evidence to reasonably suspect him of having committed the offense with which he was charged, namely that of having organized actions leading to public disorder. The court concluded that the actual purpose of his detention had been to silence or punish Mammadov for criticising the government and publishing information it was trying to hide”, the
Despite that, Mammadov is still in prison.
The Azerbaijani government has become increasingly more heavy-handed in its approach to
activists in recent years.
Earlier this month, the Azerbaijani president
pardoned 423 prisoners
. Among them, only 5 were considered political prisoners.
, at present time there are about 100 political prisoners that are serving prison terms in Azerbaijan.