Unfair Trials used for Prisoners of Consciences in Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, those expressing criticism of the government authorities or participating in political resistance activities are at danger of arbitrary detention, harassment and imprisonment. It has become increasingly dangerous for the society.
In 2014, Azerbaijani authorities arrested, convicted or imprisoned at least 34 journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and civil society activists and different Azerbaijani NGOs have been taken into custody. In August 2014, two prominent lawyers and human rights activists were among those currently in custody: Intigam Aliyev and Rasul Jafarov. They both received awards inspired by the work they have done for humanity, they both are running Non-Governmental Organizations in Azerbaijan, and both are convicted with illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. Both face inhuman behavior in prison and have been kept in metal cage an inhuman act.
Now their trials have begun and the Trial observers have noted with concern the unequal and biased treatment of the defense by the presiding judges. Although both the prosecution and the judges regularly interrupted the testimony of victims and witnesses, and in the account of illegal entrepreneurship the prosecution failed to explain which aspect of the defendant’s alleged activities is deemed illegal according to the law, both the defendant lawyers presented motions to the court that these NGOs receive funding to work for humanity and the testaments were shown the to the presiding judges.
The accusations against both Aliyev and Jafarov have been maintained despite the fact that the defendant ran a registered NGO, which received grants from a variety of sources, including the Ministry of Justice of the country, Furthermore, According to the trial observers on several occasions the prosecution was found to be leading the witness and judges appeared to advocate on the victims’ behalf. Objections of the defense were summarily dismissed.
The HFHR (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights), NHC (Netherlands Helsinki Committee) and IPHR(International Partnership for Human Rights) call upon national and European governments, intergovernmental bodies, and global associations to request fair trials and treatment, in similarity with worldwide law, for Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov and different activists kept in Azerbaijan. The data at present accessible leads us to presume that Intigam Aliyev and Rasul Jafarov are prisoners of conscience and ought to never have been arrested in the first place.
The Oslo Times