Homo Homini Laureate Detained in Azerbaijan
Baku, Prague, 8th August 2014 - Intiqam Aliyev, prominent Azerbaijani lawyer and human rights defender has been detained today in Baku. Mr. Aliyev, head of the Legal Education Society, one of Azerbaijan’s most active rights NGOs, has been facing an increased pressure from the side of the authorities in recent days, including inspections from the Tax and Justice Ministries and today’s search in his office and private house. Mr. Aliyev is being interrogated now at the Grave Crime Investigations Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office.
“Intiqam Aliyev is one of the bravest and honest human rights defenders in Azerbaijan who has been selflessly helping others for years now. We call upon his immediate and unconditional release,” says Tomáš Urban from People in Need.. “It is shocking that this is all happening as Azerbaijan is heading Europe’s top rights watchdog – the Council of Europe,” adds Urban.
In recent weeks, the Azerbaijani authorities have significantly stepped up their pressure against independent civil society organizations and critical voices. In what many analysts have seen as the largest crackdown on government critics since Azerbaijan’s independence, the regime has targeted leading human rights defenders, opposition politicians, independent journalists, and dissenting activists. Among those who have been recently detained are prominent rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus, and Rasul Jafarov, all facing lengthy sentences on trumped-up charges.
“The aim of this crackdown is to wipe out all regime critics in Azerbaijan,” says Tomáš Urban from People in Need. “It is shocking that this is all happening as Azerbaijan is chairing Europe’s top rights watchdog – the Council of Europe, and Western democracies are turning a blind on it,” adds Urban. “Azerbaijan has about 140 political prisoners in its jails. With these arrests, not just that the number is rising, the fear is that there will soon be no-one left to defend those unfairly harassed and prosecuted. It is high time for the West to speak up,” he says.
In 2012, Mr. Aliyev was awarded the People in Need’s Homo Homini Award in recognition of his exceptional commitment to defending human rights. He has submitted more than 200 applications to the European Court of Human Rights in cases of election rigging, abuses of free speech and right to fair trial. Award was handed over to Mr Aliyev by the minister for foreign affairs of the Czech Republic.
More info: http://www.clovekvtisni.cz/en/human-rights/info/homo-homini-award
For more information contact:
Tomas Urban, head of the Media Department, People in Need
+420 608 527 312