Call for immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned activists
The Human Rights House Foundation calls upon the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure that the imprisoned activists Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Zulfuqar Eyvazli, Babak Hasanov, Sahib Karimov, Ahad Mammadli, Ulvi Guliyev, Rufat Hajibeyli, Vidadi Iskanderli, Shahin Hasanov are immediately and unconditionally released and full rehabilitation is provided.
Friday, 18 May 2012, by HRHF
In a letter (see on the right) to the President and the Minsiter of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) calls for the imprisoned activists Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Zulfuqar Eyvazli, Babak Hasanov, Sahib Karimov, Ahad Mammadli, Ulvi Guliyev, Rufat Hajibeyli, Vidadi Iskanderli, Shahin Hasanov are immediately and unconditionally released and full rehabilitation is provided.
HRHF also expresses its support to the appeal of the imprisoned Azerbaijani blogger and youth activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev for his early release, to be reviewed at a court hearing scheduled for Monday 21 May 2012. We call upon the President and Minister of Justice to ensure that his case is reconsidered without any delay. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev should be immediately released as he is now eligible for parole under the Azerbaijani laws after serving half of the term of his sentence.
In May 2011, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Azerbaijani blogger and youth activist, was sentenced to two years imprisonment on charges of evading military service. The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, however, provides its citizens with a right to alternative service, which Bakhtiyar Hajiyev intended to exercise, refusing the official call for military service.
HRHF is concerned about his imprisonment and believes that such a persecution of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev is directly linked to his political and civic activism in Azerbaijan. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, the recent Harvard graduate, participated in the parliamentary elections in November 2010 as the opposition candidate, calling for democratic reforms in Azerbaijan. Soon after the elections, he posted videos on social networks condemning the results of the elections. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was arrested on 4 March 2011, after he called for support to “Great People’s Day” anti-governmental demonstrations on Facebook.
We believe that the imprisonment of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev as well as the one of other activists are a clear retaliation against them for exercising his freedom of expression. We consider Bakhtiyar Hajiyev to be yet another victim of an increasing pressure and growing persecution of critical voices, including activists using social networks and peaceful protesters in Azerbaijan.
We therefore call upon the President and the Minister of Justice to ensure that Bakhtiyar Hajiyev and other 12 imprisoned opposition activists are immediately and unconditionally released and full rehabilitation is provided.
We also remind the Azerbaijani authorities of their international obligations to ensure the right of freedom of expression to its citizens and call upon them to abide with the commitments.