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Intigam Aliyev – L4L letter

Azerbaijan holds the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, and should therefore respect and uphold the democratic values of the Council of Europe and the essential human rights guaranteed in the European Convention on Human Rights. However, a crackdown on  NGO’s  and human rights defenders is taking place all over Azerbaijan, and many of these rights are being violated. Lawyers are also victims of this crackdown.

On the morning of 8 August 2014, Intigam Aliyev was summoned for interrogation in the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Baku, where he was charged with tax evasion (under article 213.1 of the Criminal Code), illegal enterprise (article 192.2.2) and abuse of official power (article 308.2), and was then sent to pre-trial detention. Later on 8 August 2014, Nasimi District Court in Baku ruled to detain the human rights defender for three months, and authorities transferred him to Baku Pre-Trial Detention Facility. If the court finds Intigam Aliev guilty of the charges, he may face up to seven years’ imprisonment.

Intigam Aliyev is the head of the Legal Education Society,a human rights organisation that provides legal support to mass and non-governmental organisations and low-income groups of the population. As a human rights lawyer, Intigam Aliyev 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.

It has been submitted that his arrest may be linked to the fact that the European Court of Human Rights has begun addressing complaints submitted with the assistance of Intigam Aliyev. Or, further, it could be linked to a recent speech he made at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In this speech, Intigam Aliyev openly criticised the authorities of Azerbaijan for its poor human rights record, growing number of political prisoners, and shrinking space for independent NGOs.

On 9 August 2014, in communication with his lawyer, Intigam Aliyev circulated a statement denying all charges. He stated that the motives behind his arrest are not legal, but “political”. Intigam Aliyev’s lawyer has appealed the ruling to transfer the human rights defender to pre-trial detention.

L4L, together with the Law Society of England and Wales, sent letters to the authorities of Azerbeidjan to call upon them to immediately and unconditionally release Intigam Aliyev from pre-trial detention, and to drop the charges against him. Click here to see the letters that were sent.

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