In a surprising turn of events, Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov appealed Intigam Aliyev’s sentence almost a year after the well-known human rights lawyer was convicted on multiple charges, Aliyev’s attorney Javad Javadov said on Facebook.
Garalov filed a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court, deeming Aliyev’s sentence of 7.5 years as too harsh. A hearing will be held on March 28. Aliyev may be freed on that day, Javadov suggested.
On April 22, 2015, the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced
to seven and a half year imprisonment on charges of tax evasion, abuse of authority, illegal entrepreneurship, and appropriation. International rights groups
Aliyev as a prisoner of conscience, and charges against him as politically motivated. Aliyev’s health severely deteriorated in jail. He reportedly suffered from violent headaches, loss of appetite and insomnia.
Aliyev was one of the first Azerbaijani lawyers to bring cases to the European Court of Human Rights and has also trained Azerbaijan’s new generation of human rights lawyers.
It is noteworthy that during Aliyev’s trial, Prosecutor General Farid Nagiyev
on a tougher punishment and sought a sentence of 10 years. Some say that the about-face may be due to President Ilham Aliyev’s upcoming
to the US, where Congress is considering sanctions against senior regime figures.