Mehman Hüseynov
Mehman Hüseynov

Authorities drop criminal charges against Mehman Huseynov

The new charges against imprisoned anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov have been dropped just one day after President Ilham Aliyev ordered a review of the case. Huseynov will now be released on 3 March.

The decision comes after one of the largest protests in recent years, organized by opposition groups in support of Huseynov and other political prisoners, and an appeal Huseynov allegedly addressed to President Aliyev on 20 January.

In the letter, released by various media close to the government, the video blogger asks for his case to be investigated, insisting on his innocence and that a renewed prison term would be difficult for him as well as his elderly father.

One of Huseynov’s lawyers, Fuad Agayev, told Meydan TV he was unaware of the appeal.

According to BBC Azerbaijan, neither Huseynov’s second lawyer, Shahla Humbatova, nor his father and brother, Emin Huseynov, knew about the letter.

According to a statement published by the Prosecutor General’s Office on 22 January, the investigation revealed that Huseynov, a young man with an aging parent to take care of, has made progress throughout his term in prison, and that he should be released because he was not considered to be dangerous.

The Prosecutor’s Office further denies that he is on a hunger strike and maintains that the conditions of his detention are “normal”.

Huseynov has been serving a two-year prison sentence and was set to be released in March 2019. When authorities in December last year came up with new charges that could see him in prison for up to seven more years, he started a hunger strike.

His case gained considerable attention both in Azerbaijan as well as internationally, and more than a dozen people joined his hunger strike.