Over 160 people on updated political prisoners list

The Center for the Protection of Political Prisoners (CPPP) published an updated list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. There are 161 people on the list.

The list was compiled by Leyla Yunus, a human rights activist who now lives abroad; Elshan Hasanov, chair of the Center for the Monitoring of Political Prisoners; and Ogtay Gulaliyev, chair of the Azerbaijan Without Political Prisoners Non-Governmental Alliance.

The latest list of political prisoners includes new names - Emin Sagiyev, brother-in-law of emigre journalist Turkel Azarturk; Alikram Khurshudov, chair of the Shirvan branch of the opposition Musavat Party; and Elshan Abbasov, a Muslim activist who has been arrested a second time.

Sagiyev was arrested on charges of illegal trafficking of narcotics, Khurshudov on charges of hooliganism, and Abbasov is accused of illegal possession of narcotics and weapons. Rights activists, however, are convinced that their arrests were politically motivated and based on trumped-up charges.

The CPPP published an earlier list of political prisoners in April 2017. That list had 162 names on it. According to that list, "religious believers" - activists from the Muslim Unity movement - were the largest group of political prisoners. There were 103 of them on the list.

There is no unified list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Earlier, the Working Group, which includes Azerbaijani rights activists, NGO activists, journalists and lawyers, released another list of political prisoners in the country. There are 94 people on their list.

The Azerbaijani government denies that there are any political prisoners in the country.