'They say goodbye to life in a short time'
In recent days, Babek Hasanov, an activist of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) and a veteran of the Karabakh War, passed away, reportedly due to a cancer diagnosis. Hasanov, who was arrested twice, faced accusations of money laundering in 2018 and was sentenced to 3 years, a term from which he was pardoned shortly before completion. He consistently denied the charges, attributing them to his political engagements.
Relatives of the 50-year-old opposition figure now attribute his death to the consequences of intense political activity in the country. Hasanov had claimed he was tortured during his imprisonment, although authorities dismissed his complaints.
The passing of Hasanov follows the deaths of other opposition figures, including former Deputy Ibrahim Ibrahimli, deputy chairman of PFPA Gozel Bayramli, and PFPA member Elnur Farajov, all of whom succumbed to cancer. Farajov, included in the list of political prisoners, died months after his release from prison, where he was sentenced under drug-related charges.
While those mentioned were recognized as political prisoners, officials in Azerbaijan reject the notion of political prisoners in the country. Zahid Oruj, chairman of the Milli Majlis Committee on Human Rights, in an interview with Turan highlighted the inherent risks in politics globally, emphasizing that clashes of interests are inevitable. He cautioned against generalizing the situation based on a few individuals and advocated for the civilized of political relations.
Rufat Safarov, co-founder of the human rights defense organization "Defense Line", In an interview with Radio Azadlig, pointed out deficiencies in the medical care within detention facilities. He mentioned that some political prisoners face health issues that persist even after release due to inadequate medical attention during their incarceration.
The Penitentiary Service did not provide a specific response to the criticism but previously asserted that the medical and other rights of prisoners in Azerbaijani prisons adhere to legal requirements.