“My father’s arrest is a loss for society more than us”

“Despite any threats or punishments, it is possible to stay strong in the face of injustice. It is important not to let the fear suppress the consciousness,” Intigam Aliyev’s son, Necmin Kamil, tells Meydan TV.

Intigam Aliyev has been held behind bars for over fifteen months. The renowned human rights lawyer and head of the Legal Education Society was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail in April on charges of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of authority. His health has sharply deteriorated since then, raising concerns among human rights groups and drawing comparisons with Russian lawyer

Sergey Magnitskiy

, who died in custody in November 2009.

Not much has been heard about Aliyev and the state of his health since the sentencing. Meydan TV spoke with Intigam Aliyev’s son, Necmin Kamil.

It has been a while since we heard anything about your father. How is he doing?

I cannot say that he is doing well. A person like him cannot strive behind bars. However, he has remained strong and resilient. He has been trying to stay fit. He regularly exercises for that reason. However, every time we visit him, his health and overall well-being are getting worse and worse. He needs a serious medical examination and a long-term treatment accordingly. However, it is impossible to receive those in prison.

After he was imprisoned, he has faced a number of challenges, some of which still remain. The most important one is that he cannot continue his work. This makes his time in prison unbearable.

At the moment, there are very few articles about Intigam Aliyev in the press. It seems as if everyone has reconciled with his imprisonment. What do you think about it?

I think it is understandable. My father is not the only political prisoner in the country, and political prisoners are not the only issue we have at hand. Everyone has more than enough of their own issues. Another thing is that there is so much fear in the society that most people are not even able to express their support for political prisoners. Media outlets are not allowed to write about this topic.

However, I don’t agree with the idea that people reconciled with his arrest. It is simply due to the fact that the government has intensified its repressions to such an extreme point that arrests and pressures are no longer news. However, despite all this, there are plenty of people who support us. He has a large circle of people, who care about him and support him, think and talk about him all the time. After his arrest, he has been awarded a number of prestigious awards, and I believe that his work during his time in prison will draw both local and international attention.

What about you? Were you able to reconcile with Intigam Aliyev’s arrest?

It is not only about my father. I cannot reconcile with any unjust arrest happening in Azerbaijan. As a citizen, I try my best to help release all political prisoners.

Your father, the head of your family, is in prison. What kind of challenges are you facing since he’s not around?

Certainly, there are some challenges. However, he prepared us as his family to face them. The most important thing for us now is to be close to him during these tough days. I know that seeing his family being close to him and supporting him keeps him strong under any circumstances. Knowing that he is strong out there enables us to cope with any difficulties ourselves.

My father’s arrest is a loss for society more than us. He tirelessly defended people’s rights, raised a new generation of lawyers, and drew international attention to the violations committed in the country. In other words, his arrest and the arrests of his colleagues deprived the society of all of it.

Since your father’s arrest, what lessons have you learned? How has it affected the way you look at life?

During my father’s arrest, particularly the period of investigation and court hearings, I learned that despite any threats or punishments, it is possible to stay strong in the face of injustice. It is important not to let the fear suppress the consciousness.

Do you have anything else to say?

On behalf of my father and our family, I would like to thank everyone who supported him. Seeing this endless support and feeling their presence is of outmost importance to political prisoners as every message or piece of news they receive help them endure all the hardships, and makes them stronger.

We must not forget that it is our duty to support those who lost their freedom in the fight for ours.

Ana səhifəNews“My father’s arrest is a loss for society more than us”