There are still political prisoners in Azerbaijan

Baku/30.05.22/Turan: According to the order on pardon signed by President Ilham Aliyev on May 27, 168 convicts were released from the outstanding part of the sentence. Besides, the unserved part of the penalty for 36 people sentenced to imprisonment has been halved, as well as 3 people sentenced to suspended imprisonment have been released. Besides, 6 persons sentenced to restriction of freedom were released from the unexpired part of the punishment. The order affected a total of 213 people.

Among those released there are political prisoners. One of them convicted on charges of money laundering, is Salekh Rustamly, former head of Gedabey region executive power and active member of the Party of People's Front of Azerbaijan (PPFA). Also released is Afgan Sadygov, head of the portal Azel.TV convicted on charges of extortion. Another political prisoner is Pasha Umudov, driver of Ali Kerimli, the chairman of the PPFA. Umudov was sentenced to imprisonment on drug charges.

Besides, among those pardoned are those convicted on the Ganja case. However, this pardon did not solve the problem of political prisoners.

Why weren't all political prisoners released?

Rasul Jafarov, head of the Baku Human Rights Club, answers these and other questions to Turan.

Jafarov says that the order on pardon as a legal act can not be assessed negatively. Since we are talking about the release of people. 

"The positive thing in the decree of May 27 is that approximately 40% of the persons in the list submitted to us were released. That is, 22 people out of 57 were released. People not on our list were also released. In particular, a person sentenced to life imprisonment was released. Thus, the necessary practice of pardoning life convicts is formed," said the human rights activist.

According to him, it is negative that not all those convicted for political reasons were released:

"We on the Ganja case (the July 3, 2018 assassination attempt on the head of the executive power of Ganja Elmar Veliyev by Yunis Safarov, a native of Ganja. The security forces called the assassination attempt a terrorist attack and detained the suspect which led to mass protests - a list of 39 convicts was presented to Turan news agency. Twenty of them were released, and 19 remained in custody. Among these 19 prisoners there are people who were convicted under the same articles and for the same term as those who were pardoned, had the same humanitarian grounds".

Jafarov noted that of the list of political prisoners prepared by the Baku Human Rights Club, 22 people were pardoned - 20 of them, those convicted in the Ganja case and two members of the PPFA.

However, the human rights activist complained, "30 political prisoners are still in prison." -0-

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