Opposition leader Yagublu in intensive care after hunger strike

“He was lying down, his body was very weak.”

Tofiq Yagublu. Illustration: Meydan TV

Azerbaijani politician Tofig Yagublu is in intensive care due to health problems resulting from his hunger strike in jail.

Lawyer Elchin Sadigov, who met with Yagublu at Baku's City Hospital on Monday, said his client was not well, and is continuing his hunger strike in hospital.

“He was lying down, his body was very weak. He has been on a hunger strike for 13 days and has not received any food,” Sadigov told journalists, adding he refused to take food injections, too.

“We asked him to stop the hunger strike, but he was very adamant and said he would not stop until justice was done,” Sadigov said.

Yagublu, a member of the National Council and Musavat Party was sentenced to four years and three months in prison on what his family and supporters call politically motivated charges. He was convicted of hooliganism on 2 September. The 59 year-old politician then launched a hunger strike in protest of what he called an “unfair” trial process.

His family is concerned about his health.

Yagublu's daughter, Nigar Hazi, said she was not allowed to meet with her father despite her appeals to the ombudsman. Hazi claimed the injections did not contain food and her father's situation might get worse.

“He could not drink water for a long time in prison. Complications arose from thirst, his sleep was completely disturbed, he could not sleep at all,” Hazi said.

“Now doctors are trying to regulate his sleep pattern” Hazi added.

Hazi also said that they were not informed before or after her father was transferred from prison to hospital. The family learned about it on social media.

The Ombudsman's Office and the Penitentiary Service have not yet commented.

A group of people came together in front of the hospital to extend their support to Yagublu.

Amnesty International has said Yagublu's conviction is yet another example of the Azerbaijani authorities' crackdown on political opposition, and demanded his immediate release.

Critics of President Ilham Aliyev's government, which has ruled Azerbaijan since 2003 after taking over from his late father Heydar Aliyev and decade-long ruler, say authorities often silence dissident voices by jailing and intimidating opposition activists, journalists, and civil-society advocates on bogus charges.

The Azerbaijani government has repeatedly denied allegations of politically motivated arrests in the country.

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