Rehabilitated Human Rights Activist Rasul Jafarov May Go into Politics

Baku / 23.04.20 / Turan: On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan at the Plenum lifted a criminal record and criminal charges against the chairman of the REAL party, Ilgar Mammadov, and the chairman of the Human Rights Club, Rasul Jafarov.

They abolished all the previous court decisions against Mammadov and acquitted him in all the criminal cases. Ilgar Mammadov will be paid compensation in the amount of 234 thousand manat for illegal arrest and moral damage.

The Supreme Court left Ilgar Mammadov the right to appeal to the court in civil order in connection with compensation for moral damage and other issues.

The criminal record was taken from Rasul Jafarov. He was arrested on August 2, 2014. After testifying at the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor's Office, charges were brought against him under articles of the Criminal Code on illegal business, tax evasion and abuse of office. According to the sentence of the Baku Serious Crimes Court, Jafarov was sentenced to 6 years and 6 months. He was charged under Articles 179 (misappropriation) and 313 (falsification of documents). A part of the criminal case under Article 213 (tax evasion) was terminated at the Baku Court of Appeal. Three months were deducted from the term, and the sentence of imprisonment of 6 years and 3 months was upheld. R. Jafarov was released on the basis of a pardon order signed by President Ilham Aliyev on March 17, 2016.

Rasul Jafarov answered Turan’s questions.

- Congratulations on a happy occasion. How did you come across the news of rehabilitation? Are you upset that you were wrongly engaged in the human rights work that led you to jail?

- Naturally, I am glad and I positively assess the decision of the Plenum. Since, although it’s too late, I was completely rehabilitated. I have no doubts in my way. There was a strong belief that in the end, the right decision would be made regarding me. This story was excessively long and was not needed either by the state or society. It is also known that within the framework of the political dialogue there were well-known meetings, and the public was informed about this by Ilgar Mammadov. But, of course, in order to know the final decision, it was necessary to wait for today.

I have no doubts about the chosen path. It’s only a pity that I spent years in prison for nothing. I could use these years rationally. Nevertheless, I do not think that I was on the wrong track. On the contrary, I served people, and this activity always brought me moral satisfaction.

- What will you do now, after the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court?

- Even in prison, I continued to defend human rights and represent the REAL party. After my release, I am engaged in this. I will continue to study further. It is possible that my political activity will prevail over human rights.

- Have there been any proposals from the authorities regarding the release or rehabilitation?

- There were no offers. As part of the political dialogue, there was a dialogue between the authorities and Ilgar Mammadov, and our case was decided in line with the country's legislation.

- Should we expect new releases of political prisoners?

- I do not exclude it.

- Should this be understood as the beginning of democratization in the country?

- It’s too early to say what the events will lead to. But certain positive signals are transmitted by these events. Therefore, we hope that they will push the general process of democratization, the solution of existing problems in the field of law and freedoms. I hope that after the end of the Corona Virus quarantine, political dialogue will expand. But now it is very difficult to accurately predict the consequences of the decisions made.--0--


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