More than 500 people may be pardoned in Azerbaijan

Amnesty expected for 28 May (Republic Day)

Originally published by

Caucasian Knot

The commission for pardoning has considered 1100 appeals and prepared for the Azerbaijani President a list of 500 names. The amnesty is expected to be dated to the Republic Day, 28 May.

The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that in March, rights defenders expressed their regret about no traditional pardon on the occasion of Novruz Bayram this year. The commission for pardoning announced they did not have time enough to consider all appeals.

When considering appeals, the commission for pardoning took into account nature of a crime, served term of the punishment, compensation of damage inflicted to a victim, and position of the victims, noted Alimammad Nuriyev, a member of the commission for pardoning, the head of the Constitution Research Center.

“The President personally decides when and whom to pardon,” Alimammad Nuriyev emphasized.

The President can pardon 10-15 political prisoners, believes Samir Kazimli, a member of the working group on drawing up the list of political prisoners.

“According to our lists, there are more than 140 political prisoners in the country. It is naive to believe that they will be released. However, we hope for release of some of those who spent in prison four or five years already. Among them there are Ilgar Mammadov, the leader of the Republican Alternative (ReAl) Party, Ilkin Rustamzadeh, an activist of the movement NIDA, and journalist Seymur Hazi. It would be reasonable to release journalist Afgan Mukhtarli. All those cases provoked international criticism of Azerbaijan,” Samir Kazimli noted.

Ogtay Gulaliyev, a coordinator of the Center for the Protection of Political Prisoners, expresses less optimistic expectations concerning the amnesty. “At best, 5-10 people may be released, including well-known political prisoners and several other persons whose sentences are close to completion,” he said.

It should be noted that the Azerbaijani authorities reject the fact that there are political prisoners in the country.

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