The eight arrested members of NIDA Civic Movement released a statement, in which they announced the start of a hunger strike, as they await the verdict on their case. During the court hearing April 17, the prosecutor asked for eight and a half years of detentions for Zaur Gurbanlı, Ilkin Rustamzade and Rashadat Akhundov, eight years for Rashad Hasanov, Bakhtiyar Guliyev and Mahammad Azizov, seven and a half years for Uzeyir Mammadli and six and a half years for Shahin Novruzlu. Earlier this month Amnesty International launched
a petition in support of the detainees.
The statement, signed by the eight activists, explained the reasons behind the hunger strike. “The hours-long interrogations and the rather comic show called “trial,” proved that our arrested was a political order for exercising our rights. The mere fact that during the six months of the trial our motions were unreasonably dismissed, while testimonies and items that could never be considered evidence were recognized as such, shows that a harsh sentence is being prepared against us,” read the statement. “Therefore, we suggest to the authorities to show political will and release us from prison by any means possible. Our aim is to achieve freedom through peaceful means – eternal method of NIDA. We have taken all the possible harms into account. We are strong and resolute. We believe that we will get our freedom.”
The activists’ parents joined them in the hunger strike. The movement’s supporters launched the #Azadet (Az. release) campaign in social media.