U.S. Launches New Initiative To Press For Release Of Political Prisoners, Including Elchin Mammad

Building on its commitment at the Democracy Summit, the Biden Administration on Wednesday announced the launch of a fresh initiative to secure the release of political prisoners, including Azerbaijani Elchin Mammad, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

The initiative, called Without Just Cause, seeks to raise international awareness of the plight of political prisoners and their families, and to advocate for the release of all individuals worldwide who are detained unfairly, the State Department said in a release.

"We call on governments worldwide to free those detained for peacefully exercising their human rights," Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted.

According to the State Department, political prisoners are held worldwide without just cause, many subject to torture, inhumane conditions, enforced disappearance, and abuse.

The individuals highlighted in this initiative are emblematic of the many political prisoners held by governments in every region of the world.

"Many are subjected to torture, gender-based violence, inhumane conditions, enforced disappearance, or other forms of abuse. Some are held in reprisal for peaceful protest, exposing corruption, or critical reporting. Others are held because of their race, ethnicity, religion, language, gender identity, or for perceived or real LGBTQI+ status or conduct," the Department said.

"Some governments abuse their legal systems to target peaceful protestors or government critics on contrived charges such as “terrorism,” “extremism,” “cybercrimes,” “fake news,” or “hooliganism.” Many are sentenced by courts that lack independence, in trials closed to outside observers, while others are detained without being afforded other applicable legal protections," reads the release.

The Without Just Cause initiative will include diplomatic engagement and public diplomacy in Washington, DC and by U.S. embassies abroad. It reflects input from political prisoner advocates, family members, and nongovernmental organizations.

As part of the initiative, the State Department for now features 16 political prisoners worldwide. Among them is Azerbaijani Elchin Mammad, a journalist and human rights lawyer, according to TURAN.

In March 2020, shortly after he published a report critical of the human rights situation there, Elchin Mammad was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison on alleged charges.

"The justice system should be used to seek justice, not to punish those speaking up for human rights," the Department said.  "Elchin Mammad and all other political prisoners should be released immediately and unconditionally."

More about this initiative can be found here: https://www.state.gov/withoutjustcause/

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.

Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line