“In court, Intigam Aliyev proved his innocence to all those who believe in the rule of law and a fair trial, but that does not matter in Azerbaijan. What matters to the authorities is that a legal mind is in prison and many victims of human rights abuses do not have their lawyer to represent them. Intigam Aliyev is a man of law and he respected the laws, while underlining that Azerbaijan’s draconian NGO laws violate the State’s European and international obligations,” reacted Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy at Human Rights House Network.
Intigam Aliyev’s lawyers have already indicated that they will appeal his case at the European Court of Human Rights if dismissed by the Supreme Court in Baku.
“The Court has numerous cases pending for which Intigam Aliyev is the representative. The Court will now have Intigam Aliyev himself as a victim,” continued Irminger.
Trial monitors reported that Intigam did not attend today’s hearing, but that representatives of several embassies and journalists attended, all together around 15 people.
Intigam Aliyev’s son, Necmin Kamilsoy, spoke to HRHN at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe session on 25-29 January 2016 in Strasbourg. He addressed his father’s unfair trial, why he was targeted and imprisoned, and the ongoing threats he faces in prison.
At a previous hearing on 26 January 2016, Intigam Aliyev’s lawyer, Javad Javadov, raised procedural violations during the search of his client’s flat and office, his interrogation and pre-trial detention, and his appearances in court. Earlier in the trial, Intigam Aliyev’s defence presented evidence proving that the charges brought against him are not based on facts.
“Intigam Aliyev’s only wrongdoing was to forget to notify the authorities of his most recent re-election as Chairperson of his NGO, the Legal Education Society,” commented Irminger. Draconian NGO laws in Azerbaijan indeed foresee oversight of all NGO activities, including the composition of their leadership.
Intigam Aliyev is one of the most widely respected human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan, and he has been at the forefront of rights advocacy in the country for two decades. He is the head of the officially registered Legal Education Society, an organization that promotes awareness of the law and provides legal support to individuals and organisations. Intigam Aliyev was arrested in August 2014 and in April 2015 sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on politically motivated charges. Prior to this, he was excluded from the Bar Association and targeted with bureaucratic and legal harassment, as documented in HRHN’s report Breaking Point in Azerbaijan.
When detained, Intigam Aliyev represented many Azerbaijanis at the European Court of Human Rights. The charges against him and his detention have deprived Azerbaijani citizens of their right to appeal and seek justice before the court. In October 2015, Intigam received the International Bar Association Human Rights Award 2015 for his dedicated fight to uphold human rights and the rule of law in Azerbaijan.
The detention conditions of Intigam Aliyev continue to aggravate his already poor health. He suffers from severe chronic headaches in addition to nerve pain, and he has reportedly been denied appropriate healthcare during his detention. It has been reported that he has now received proper pain medication, but he remains without the appropriate medication to treat his diseases.
“The poor detention conditions, and the unwillingness of the authorities to recognise Intigam Aliyev’s need for proper care, could result in irreparable damage to his health. We strongly denounce these conditions. Azerbaijan is violating basic humanitarian principles and should be held accountable for the harm done to Intigam Aliyev’s health while he is in custody,” stated Irminger.
HRHN’s Human Rights Lawyers at Risk report highlighted Intigam Aliyev’s case and those of other lawyers targeted for their human rights work. The Network will continue to raise the case of Intigam Aliyev and other imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights defenders at the UN, at the Council of Europe, and elsewhere.
Human Rights House Network has repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of Intigam Aliyev and other arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, journalists, and activists, such as Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, Khadija Ismayilova, the N!DA youth activists, Ilgar Mammadov, Rauf Mirkadirov, and Hilal Mammadov, and for all charges to be dropped against them, including those against Leyla and Arif Yunus, who were recently released from prison.