Security Service Threatens Imprisoned Opposition Member With Longer Term

Civic movement NIDA member Ilkin Rustamzadeh has often testified to the use of pressure against him while in Correctional Facility No. 13 over the past four years.

During a recent telephone conversation with his family, he said that employees of the State Security Service have offered him to ‘cooperate’ on numerous occasions.

His mother, Atlas Huseynova, told Meydan TV the following.

"He is openly told that ‘if you do not act in the way we want, we will not send you to the hospital, we will not let you get out of prison, and you'll stay here.’ And who is telling him this? A man from the government. Let us just suppose that Ilkin is a criminal, that he did commit a crime, was in court and was sentenced. Let him bear his punishment. Why are you threatening him on behalf of the state?! The Ministry of National Security was abolished, and this structure is different?! It is even worse".

Rustamzade was the organizer of protest rally, "No to Soldiers' Deaths", which was held on March 10, 2013 in Baku on Fountain Square. He was arrested in May of the same year on the proposal of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Initially, Rustamzade was accused of hooliganism and resistance to a representative of the government, and then he was accused of organizing mass riots. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Ilkin Rustamzade’s lawyer, Nemat Kerimli, noted that the meeting of special services officers with Ilkin in the correctional facility is illegal.

"I was going to enter the office, two of them came out. But by the form of clothes it was clear that they were not employees of the Ministry of Justice. After I entered, Ilkin told me that the people I encountered at the door were members of the State Security Service and that they exerted particular pressure on him. He is told that he must work for the service, deliver some information for them. He refused. They told him – in that case you will stay in prison for a long time”.

The State Security Service promised to look into the issue and report back on the findings, however no response was given to follow up calls.

In the Penitentiary Service they promised to look into the situation as well and share the results.

The case of Rustamzade is pending before the European Court of Human Rights. Amnesty International recognizes Rustamzadeh as a "prisoner of conscience".

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