Police stop a protest in Baku (archive)

Police stop a protest in Baku (archive)

On the eve of the widely celebrated Novruz holiday in Azerbaijan, a common event in recent decades has been the issuance by the president of decrees on pardon, giving hope for clemency to certain persons. However, since there is less than a month left before the onset of Novruz on March 21, the presidential pardon commission is noticeably inactive.

Traditionally, the Pardon Commission meets, discusses and issues pardons shortly before the Novruz holiday. However, the Commission did not start its meetings this year, which indicates a departure from the usual practice. The latest pardon decree was issued in May last year, as a result of which 801 convicts were pardoned, including persons whom human rights activists consider political prisoners, such as Ali Aliyev, chairman of the Citizen and Development party, and journalist Elchin Mamed.

Human rights activists expressed concern about the growing number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, estimated to exceed 200. Alimammad Nuriyev, a member of the presidential pardon commission, in an interview with Turan acknowledged the ongoing efforts to consider appeals for clemency, but noted the absence of scheduled meetings of the commission.

Nureyev explained that while the issuance of a pardon decree is usually linked to expectations in the run-up to Novruz, recent government priorities and international commitments, including presidential elections and participation in the Munich Security Conference, have diverted attention from issues related to pardons.

Rufat Safarov, co-founder of the human rights organization Line of Protection, noted for Radio Azadlig a surge in political detentions since May last year, estimating the number of political prisoners at 300 people. Safarov stressed the importance of periodic release, albeit under amnesty, to solve the problem of political prisoners, warning against cyclical detentions and releases.

While officials deny the existence of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, citing the legal grounds for the trial, human rights defenders continue to advocate for the recognition and release of persons detained on politically motivated charges.

The timing and scope of the next pardon decree remain uncertain, and Nureyev suggests that it may be issued in the coming months. However, as expectation grows among human rights defenders and the public, the fate of those imprisoned under politically motivated circumstances remains the subject of close observation and debate in Azerbaijan.

Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line