Alasgar Mammadli

Alasgar Mammadli

As Azerbaijan commemorates the 106th anniversary of its republic, Alasgar Mammadli, a prominent intellectual and lawyer, sends a poignant holiday greeting from the isolation ward of Kurdakhani Detention Center:

I congratulate our people on the 106th anniversary of our republic. While hundreds of nations in the world are still unable to establish their own state, it is an exceptional success to declare independence at one of the most challenging stages in history, in a geography ruled by colonial policy and ignorance, and to build a modern republic that embraces the direction of the people. Our existence in the geography we inhabit today, our eternal existence, was made possible thanks to this wise step of our Founding Fathers.

May 28 will forever be a day of pride. I remember with respect, mercy, and admiration our grandfathers who founded the Republic of Azerbaijan. I extend my congratulations to the invaluable people, esteemed journalists, civil society representatives, social and political activists, lawyers, human rights defenders, and intellectuals who have illuminated our path from darkness to enlightenment.

I am writing my holiday greeting from the isolation ward. This dungeon, where I have been placed on false accusations without evidence or crime, is part of the bitter reality of our homeland. Despite the difficult hours, days, and weeks in prison, I find a way to celebrate this chapter of my life. The words I write are the essence of my freedom of thought and expression. Those who possess honesty in their character and freedom in their soul cannot be shaken by the abuses of imprisonment, the injustice they face, or the slander they endure.

Here is a small group of people we meet every day on the streets, in parks, at parties, and in auditoriums. If there were a fair political and legal system in our country, 90 percent of today's prisoners would not be in prison. Although 33 years have passed since the restoration of our independence, we are still far from the goals of the civilized world and have a long journey ahead.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of valuable people who sent me birthday congratulations, called for my release, and expressed concern for my health. Your virtual support strengthens my spiritual and psychological well-being. Once again, I congratulate all of you and call for the immediate release of all people imprisoned without crime, including young journalists, political prisoners, and prisoners of conscience. I hope they will soon be reunited with their families, parents, and young children.

As long as you stand, you are our soul embodied.

Live and live gloriously,

O Azerbaijan! Happy Holidays!"

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