Rasul Jafarov’s conviction: Latest human rights violation in Azerbaijan

(Photo: National Endowment for Democracy)

(Photo: National Endowment for Democracy)

The Sport for Rights coalition resolutely condemns yesterday’s sentencing of Rasul Jafarov, a prominent Azerbaijani human rights defender, to 6.5 years in prison on politically motivated charges. The coalition calls for his immediate release.

“This is just the latest example of the brutal crackdown on civil society by the host government of the forthcoming European Games,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of Article 19. “This ridiculous sentence is a punishment for Jafarov’s human rights activism. The authoritarian regime in Baku are scared of the attention Jafarov would bring during the high profile sport events they are proudly hosting – the European Games in June this year and the Formula One Grand Prix in 2016”.

The coalition calls for the EU and its Member States to impose targeted sanctions – for instance visa ban– against those members of the regime who systematically abuse fundamental human rights of citizens of Azerbaijan. At the same time, given the unprecedented human rights crisis in Azerbaijan, the coalition calls for the European Olympic Committee to establish a working group to examine specific cases of right abuses that violates the spirit and letter of the Olympic Charter and the atmosphere of the first European Games.

“A robust response from the European Olympic Committee is required, together with sanctions from the European Union and United States. This is the only way to bring about the release of Rasul Jafarov and other political prisoners, including prominent human rights defenders Leyla Yunus, Emin Huseynov, Anar Mammadli, award-winning investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and well-known politician Ilgar Mammadov” , said Emma Hughes of Platform London.

“The Baku games should not be used as a means to blind the wider world to the appalling treatment being meted out to journalists and activists in Azerbaijan. The international community must unite in condemning the Azerbaijani government and in calling for the immediate release of Rasul Jafarov and his compatriots.”, Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg said.

“The authorities of Azerbaijan has now come to an absolute low point of the regressive trend we have seen over the past years. An even lower point will be reached with the expected sentencing of human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev next week. We expect governments, international organisations and corporate businesses that have relations with the Azerbaijani government to hold Azerbaijan accountable and react firmly. Profound actions and sanctions must be taken as a response to Azerbaijan’s severe crackdown on independent civil society and human rights defenders – and to Azerbaijan’s total disrespect of international agreements and responsibilities,” urges Maria Dahle, Executive Director of the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF).

On 16 April 2015, Rasul Jafarov was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes. He is also prohibited from holding any office for 3 years. He was convicted under Articles 192 (illegal business), 213 (tax evasion) and 308 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. During the trial, all the prosecution witnesses testified in his favor, and the prosecution failed to prove his guilt.  After the verdict, Jafarov reiterated that the charges against him are politically motivated and fabricated.

Jafarov’s work has focused on violations of the right to freedoms of expression, assembly and association. At the time of his arrest in August 2014, he had collected information on over 100 cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. He had also called for the foundation of a new NGO coalition, “Sport for Rights”, to raise awareness on Azerbaijan’s human rights record in the run up to the European Games in Baku.

With his colleagues and allies, Rasul Jafarov has advocated for the dozens of journalists, activists and human rights defenders who are behind bars on illegitimate grounds.  As a result of relentless repression enacted by the Azerbaijani government, key human rights activists and journalists have been jailed, exiled, or forced into hiding.

The next person to be sentenced in Azerbaijan is the human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev. He has filed numerous cases with the European Court of Human Rights and as leader of the Legal Education Centre trained a whole generation of lawyers in Azerbaijan. He was awarded with the Homo Homini Award in 2012. He is charged with the same charges as Rasul Jafarov. The next hearing in his case will be on 21 April 2015 and he might be sentenced the following day with up to 10 years imprisonment.

For example, well-known Azerbaijani human rights defender Emin Huseynov has been in hiding in the Embassy of Switzerland in Baku for almost eight months. He sought shelter at the Embassy in order to avoid imminent arrest on fabricated charges—an act of revenge by the regime in response to his criticism of Azerbaijan’s poor human rights record in the international arena. Emin faces charges under three articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan: articles 308 (abuse of office), 213 (tax evasion) and 192 (illegal business).

Hard-hitting investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been thrown into jail on similarly fabricated charges – embezzlement, illegal business, tax evasion, and abuse of power. She has been in pretrial detention since December 5 on a separate charge of inciting a man to commit suicide. As reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a member of the Sport for Rights coalition, Azerbaijan is the leading jailer of journalists in Europe and Central Asia with at least eight journalists in prison.

Another prominent critic of the Azerbaijan regime, Leyla Yunus, who was calling for the boycott of the European Games due to Baku’s appalling human rights records, was arrested on 30 July on trumped-up charges of treason and other crimes. Her husband, Arif Yunus, faced travel restrictions until he too was arrested on 5 August, on similar charges.  Leyla, who—has been denied necessary medical attention since her arrest, is currently being held in a detention center in Baku, just a few miles from the arena where the European Games will soon be inaugurated.

The Sport for Rights coalition demands the immediate release of Rasul Jafarov and other human rights defenders and activists in Azerbaijan, and calls for robust sanctions against Azerbaijan unless the government takes concrete steps to halt this crackdown.

Sport for Rights Coalition including:

Article 19

Center for Civil Liberties

Committee to Protect Journalists

Freedom Now

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Human Rights House Foundation

Index on Censorship

International Media Support

International Partnership for Human Rights


Platform London

You Aid Foundation

For more information, contact:

Dominika Bychawska, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at [email protected]

Gulnara Akhundova, International Media Support at [email protected]

Nina Ognianova, Committee to Protect Journalists at [email protected]

Melody Patry, Index on Censorship at [email protected]

Background to Rasul Jafarov’s case:

Rasul Jafarov is a lawyer and prominent human rights activist based in Azerbaijan. He is the founder and chairman of the Human Rights Club and coordinated the ‘Sing for Democracy Campaign’, which used the publicity surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku to shed light on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. In October 2014, Rasul Jafarov, together with other prominent Azerbaijani human rights activists, was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. In the same year, he was nominated for the Human Rights Tulip Award, an accolade presented by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to courageous human rights defenders who promote and support human rights in innovative ways.

Rasul Jafarov was arrested on 2 August 2014 and subsequently charged with illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. On 12 December 2014, additional charges were brought against him, including embezzlement and forgery. At a hearing on 9 April 2015, the prosecutor recommended a prison sentence of 9 years.

An analysis of trial procedures conducted by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) raises serious doubts whether the defendant’s fundamental right to a fair trialhas been adequately protected.During the initial stage of the trial, the accused and his lawyers already encountered problems in accessing investigation materials. During the first two hearings, Jafarov was brought into court in handcuffs and kept in a metal cage, which hindered communication with his lawyers. On one occasion, guards seated next to the accused during the hearings obstructed communication with his lawyers, in breach of the guaranteed secrecy of such communication. During the trial, Jafarov stated that he had faced ill-treatment—for example, he was deliberately woken up very early on the days of his trial, and kept waiting for several hours in a special (is this the right word? Small?) room. He was transported to the hearings in an overcrowded vehicle.

The prosecution’s arguments concerning the charges were vague. During the trial, the prosecution neither elaborated upon nor justified the charges, in particularly the charges of abuse of office and service forgery, as no evidence of significant damage to the interests of physical or legal persons or national or societal interests (according to Articles 308.2 and 313 of the Criminal Code) was presented. The lack of precision in regard to the charges and the lack of respect for Jafarov’s right to understand and respond to accusation has raised another challenge to procedural fairness.

During the trial, the Court heard more than a dozen witnesses. Although the prosecution considered some of these individuals as victims, the witnesses stated that they did not feel victimized by the defendant and have no claims against him. According to their testimonies, Jafarov paid them regularly and all financial documentation was completed in conformity with Azerbaijani law.  The defence lawyers filed unsuccessful motions to revoke the “victim status” of most of the witnesses. No clear justification for the rejection of this motion was provided. Moreover, during questioning of the alleged victims, the judge commented on their responses and guided their answers. Some of the alleged victims brought documents confirming that they had been paid for their work, but the judge refused to look at this crucial evidence.

The defence requested that the Court conduct an independent expert analysis of the document presented by the prosecution as a proof of alleged forgery by the accused. This motion was rejected by the Court, and so the defence presented the results of forensic analysis stating that the signatures on financial documents and invoices were authentic. Although the court accepted the expert analysis as evidence, it rejected the motion to hear the forensic expert.

The defence also submitted letters from 20 donor organizations stating that all grant funds were spent as intended. In addition, the court was presented with five CDs containing supporting documents. The prosecution opposed the presentation of these documents, arguing that they could be forged. However, the court accepted the defence’s submission.

Azerbaijan: Sham trial of rights activist Rasul Jafarov begins

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

Locked in a double iron cage in a packed courtroom, Azerbaijani activist and regime critic Rasul Jafarov saw his trial open on Thursday.

Detained since 2 August, Jafarov stands accused of crimes including tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, abuse of office and forgery. The charges are widely believed to be trumped up and in connection to his human rights campaigning works. He could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

Citing a lack of evidence of guilt, Jafarov’s lawyers requested the case be dropped, reported contact.az. They also asked, among other things, that he be allowed to sit with them. Both requests were denied.

The case against Jafarov is part of an ongoing onslaught against critical civil society by Azerbaijani authorities. Campaigners Leyla and Arif Yunus and lawyer Intigam Aliyev were all arrested around the same time as Jafarov, and remain in detention. Investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who has reported on official corruption, was detained on 5 December 2014. Journalist Seymur Hazi, who has worked for Index journalism award winning Azadliq newspaper, is also in detention. There are currently more than 90 reported political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

In a recent development, authorities raided the Azerbaijan bureau of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Jafarov, 30, is chairman of the organisation Human Rights Club, and one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent human rights activists. When capital Baku hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, he organised the Sing for Democracy campaign to draw attention to rights abuses by President Ilham Aliyev’s government. Aliyev has been in power since 2003, succeeding his father Heydar. In 2013 he was re-elected for a third term, amid claims of voting fraud.

Jafarov was also planning on staging a Sport for Rights campaign when the inaugural European Olympics come to Baku this summer.

In August, he wrote an appeal to the international community from jail, saying that “the past 2-3 years everyone was asking half-joking, half-serious, when I was going to be arrested. It happened, and now I’m looking forward to your support!”

“As we focus on threats to free expression in countries like France in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, it is vital that we remember the plight of the thousands of individuals worldwide facing daily harassment, threats of violence, and detention, for exercising their rights to free speak freely,” said Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg.

“Azerbaijan is one of the world’s worst countries for free speech. We call on the Azerbaijan government to release Rasul, and others detained for attempting to speak out about the country’s deplorable human rights record. We also urge other governments – who have professed so volubly in recent days their believe in the importance of free speech — to join our call for Rasul’s release.”

“The arrest of Rasul Jafarov, along with other main human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, such as Intigam Aliyev, Leyla Yunus, Anar Mammadli or journalist Khadija Ismayil, shows how the authorities handle critics: there is no space for dialogue in society but enough space for repression and imprisonment,” Florian Irminger, head of advocacy at the Human Rights House Foundation, said.

This article was posted on 15 January 2015 at indexoncensorship.org

Azerbaijan: Rasul Jafarov appeal

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

This is the appeal of Azerbaijani political prisoner, Rasul Jafarov. It was sent to Index on Censorship by his brother, Sanan Jafarov. Jafarov has now been detained for 54 days.

Article 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the restrictive measure of arrest. Article 157.2 states that arrest as a restrictive measure may be chosen in the light of the requirements of Articles 155.1 – 155.3 of this Code. In other words, a restrictive measure, including the restrictive measure of arrest may be chosen when the grounds stipulated in the Articles 155.1 – 155.3 exist. These grounds are the following, and I present my arguments regarding the baselessness of the attribution of each ground to me and the fact that there was a ‘political order’:

  • 1.1 – hiding from the prosecuting authority;

In connection with my activities as a human rights defender, I have regularly been in the spotlight of the local community and the media. At least once a week, I gave interviews to local media outlets in their offices. The interviews were explicitly related to the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. To talk about these issues one needs to constantly live in Azerbaijan. And I have always lived in Azerbaijan. Despite of making numerous trips in connection with my work, I always returned to the Homeland. This was the case on the eve of my arrest. I came back to Baku in late June after participating in the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. From 29 June to 5 July I was on a visit to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from 6 to 11 of July on a visit to Kiev. The last visit   is particularly important, because on July 7, while I was in Kiev, the Sabail District Court issued a decision to arrest my current bank accounts based on the request of the investigating authority, i.e. while stil in Kiev I already knew that the Prosecutor General’s Office conducts an investigation related to me. Nevertheless, I did not choose to hide from the investigating authority and returned to Baku on July 11.  On July 16, I submitted a formal application to the Sabail District Court requesting a copy of the decision to arrest my bank accounts, in order to appeal that decision. On July 28, I left Baku for Tbilisi by train for a next working trip; in the morning of July 29, I was told at the Boyuk Kesik border crossing point that the Prosecutor General’s Office imposed a ban on my exit from the country on July 25. This ban is, as a rule, imposed on suspects and accused persons. However till then I had not been prosecuted as a suspect or accused. Yet, I not only did not think about hiding, but immediately returned to Baku after being taken off the train  and informed the local media about this ban. After this information was disseminated in numerous media outlets, a member of the investigation team, an investigator by name Igbal Huseynov called me on July 30 and invited me as a witness to the Depatment for Investigation of Serious Crimes of the Prosecutor General’s Office on July 31, at 9.30. I did not hide from the investigation and was in the investigating authority at the specified time in order to answer the questions of the investigation. There, I gave evidence for 4 fours in the presence of two investigators, and answered all the questions that interested the investigating authority. After the questioning, a search was conducted in the apartment where I live for 2 hours with my own participation (the search order was made on July 25). Since the investigating authority found nothing as a result of the search, I told that I can voluntarily present the documents that the investigating authority needed. Thus, on July 31, August 1 and on the day of my arrest, i.e. August 2, voluntarily presented the financial and accounting documents of the human rights projects that we carried out during the period 2011-2014. On August 2, after presenting the last documents on the projects I was charged as the accused. Because I cooperated with the investigation, regularly complied with the summons of the investigating authorities and, above all, presented all the documents requested for normal conduction of the investigation, there remained no logical or any other point in my hiding from the investigation from that moment on. On the other hand, due to the ban imposed on my exit from the country, I could not hide from the investigation by leaving the country, even if I wanted.

  • 1.2- obstructing the normal course of the investigation or court proceedings by illegally influencing parties to the criminal proceedings, hiding material significant to the prosecution or engaging in falsification;

Firstly, I should note that the scope of the persons involved in the criminal proceedings is unclear to me. The current criminal case was launced on 22 April 2014 and covers the activity of more than 20 NGOs and NGO representatives. In such a case, it is difficult to even imagine the possibility of how and which parties to the criminal proceedings were influenced during nearly 4 month until my arrest. If we answer the question “who were these people?” with assumptions, we can suppose these people to be the persons who rendered different services under the projects that we carried out. The projects that we carried out, the people involved in them, the documents that emerged as a result of projects and the outcomes have regularly been in the spotlight of local and a number of foreign media, and discussions have been opened around them. On the other hand, the identity of the persons involved in the projects, the jobs that they were engaged in and the amounts of funds they received in return for their work are indicated in the financial and accounting documents that I voluntarily presented to the investigating authority. I should underline that I present not the copies but the original documents to the investigating authority and  relevant acts were drawn up.  In such a case, there remains no point in inluencing the people involved in projects for any reason, because all original documents related to them have already been presented to the ivnestigating authority. This fact also proves the fact that it is impossible to falsify any document or material. Since on 3 consecutive days I voluntarily presented the documents requested by the investigation, the concealment of any document is out of the question, as we have no document to hide. The projects that we carried out were obvious, I gave additional information about each of the projects during my testimony on July 31, the investigating authority possesses bank statements about my bank accounts, I have presented all financial and accounting documents on the projects, thus I let the investigation know the exact scope of persons involved in the projects. This being the case, the hiding or falsying of which documents can one talk about? Or is there a need to influence the people, when their involvement in the projects is proved by their own signatures and the investigating authority already has these documents?

  • 1.3 – committing a further act provided for in criminal law or creating a public threat.

The nature of the crimes with which I am charged is so that it is impossible to commit them again in the course of the current criminal proceedings; Because the projects have been stopped due to the criminal case, all my current bank accounts have been arrested by a court decision, the documents of all the previously implemented projects are in the possession of the investigating authority.  This being the case, how can I re-commit the crimes with which I am charged? The crimes with which I am charged are not homicide, causing grievous bodily harm, hooliganism, drug possession, drug trafficking, rape or crimes resulting in serious consequences of these kinds, there do not exist grounds for prevention of their re-commital or a public threat.

  • 1.4 failing to comply with a summons from the prosecuting authority, without good reason, or otherwise evading criminal responsibility or punishment;

As I noted above, the first time I was summoned by the investigation on July 30, and on July 31, at 9.30, I was at the investigating authority, I also complied with the August 1 and August 2 summons of the investigating authority in a timely manner, without any delay. As we can see, I  not only did not avoid the summons of the investigating authority, to the contrary, I have consistently complied with them. After my July 31 evidence, the search in my apartment and the presentation of the documents to the investigation, I gave information about what had happened on my Facebook page, stating that my activity was transparent, that I had not committed any crime and that I would prove this to the investigation. I repeated my similar interviews in the interviews that I gave to the local media both on the same day and August 1.

  • 1.5 preventing execution of a court judgment;

How might I have prevented the execution of a court judgment, when there exists no court judgment on this case or in relation to me. It has been set out in Article 155.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that in resolving the question of the necessity for a restrictive measure and which of them to apply to the specific suspect or accused, the preliminary investigator, investigator, prosecutor in charge of the procedural aspects of the investigation or court shall bear in mind:

155.2.1. the seriousness and nature of the offence with which the suspect or accused is charged and the conditions in which it was committed;

– Only one of the crimes with which I am charged, abuse of office, is considered a serious crime by its category, the other 2 crimes belong to the category of less serious crimes. In other words, if we summarize the crimes, among them, I am accused of committing only 2 less serious and 1 serious crimes. These charges filed against me cover my human rights activity that I have implemented for 3 years, i.e. I have established the non-governmental organization not to commit these crimes, but to implement human rights activity.  And, I obtained the TIN (taxpayer identification number) in 2008 not to avoid payment of taxes or engage in illegal business activity, but to be registered as a taxpayer and pay the taxes. In other words, even if we suppose that the crimes have been committed, there are no proofs to claim the gravity of the circumstances of their committal, or to show that  there was a specific intent or planning, or criminal intention in the action. As a result of the action that has been allegedly committed, no one has lost their life or suffered serious injuries, there has not been an obvious disrespect for a society, no one’s Constitutional rights or freedoms have been violated, and there  is no concrete victim or complainant.  The article of the Criminal Code that concerns tax evasion, one of the charges brought against me, itself provides for the exemption from criminal responsibility.

155.2.2 the personality, age, health and occupation of the suspect or accused and his family, financial and social positions, including whether he has dependents and a permanent residence;

– I have worked in civil society organizations since 2007, and have been author, implementer or participant of a number of projects that were useful for the society. I graduated from the university with good and excellent mars and got a master’s degree in law. In 2006-2007 I served in the army and was discharged with the rank of junior sergeant. I am considered the head of my family since 2004, as my father died in October of that year, and since then I play  a key role in maintaining our family that consists of me, my mother and younger brother. I have a resident which is my property and the investigation knows this, there is no other address where I actually live, I do not have a citizenship of any other country or have no obligation to a foreign state. In 2010, I was the winner of the Asian Justice Makers Competition of the International Bridges to Justice organization, in 2013 I was a participant of the prestigious joint program of the American Jewish Committee and Fridrich Naumann Foundation called “Promoting Tolerance”, I closely participated in numerous meetings of the Council of Europe, the UN, the European Union, OSCE and other international organizations, and made speeches on the theme of human right at a number of events.

155.2.3 whether he has committed a previous offence, the previous choice of restrictive measure and other significant facts;

I have never been convicted before, no restrictive measure has ever chosen in respect of me, I have never been recognized as a suspect or accused in committal of a crime, even no administraive measure has ever been applied to me, and my name has not been mentioned in any criminal case. I complied with the summons of the investigating authority in a timely manner and cooperated with the investigation.



There was no ground to refuse choosing the measure of house arrested in respect of me as an alternative to the resitrictive measure of arrest. Along with the house arrest, the court could completely ban me from leaving my place of residence as an accompanying measure and additional restrictive measures stipulated in Article 163 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could be applied. We have presented reliable evidence proving this to all local courts. When our evidence are taken into account not seperately but as a whole, it becimes clear that there is no serious ground or necessity to apply restrictive measure of arrest to me. Thus, instead of arrest, the measure of house arrest, which is its alternative according to the legislation, could have been easily chosen in respect of me.

 This article was posted on 25 September 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

Azerbaijan: Letter from imprisoned human rights activist Rasul Jafarov

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

Rasul Jafarov in September 2013 (Photo: Melody Patry)

In early August, Azerbaijani human rights activist Rasul Jafarov was charged with tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and power abuse and sentenced to three months of pre-trial detention, as part of a crackdown on the country’s human rights groups and dissident voices. This is his appeal to the international community. 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

I would like to bring to your attention that the charges brought against me are completely unlawful and groundless. One might ask why? Because,

  • I was registered as an individual entrepreneur with the tax authorities on 25 August 2008 and obtained a taxpayer identification number (TIN). From that time up until now, I fully and timely paid relevant taxes and social insurance contributions in accordance with the funds paid to me for my services under the projects in which I was involved. It can be easily verified by sending an inquiry to tax agencies.
  • The Human Rights Club was founded in December 2010, and at the founding meeting I was elected the chairman of the organisation. The Human Rights Club has repeatedly applied to the ministry of justice for registration, but due to unjustified and unlawful denial of state registration, appeals were made to all relevant courts in Azerbaijan, and at present this case is pending before the European Court [of Human Rights]. The process of seeking registration and filing appeals continued from 2011 till 2013; since the legislation during this period did not prohibit the activity of unregistered NGOs, we, as the Human Rights Club, implemented a variety of projects during the years 2011-2013. Each of these projects was carried out under the grant agreements signed with donor organisations which I have voluntarily presented to the prosecutor general’s office. Also, at the time of signing of these agreements, the ministry of justice was informed through relevant letters sent to this state body. Moreover, the funds under each grant were transferred not in a secret or non-transparent manner, but through transfers to the bank accounts open and accessible for law enforcement and other relevant agencies, with the purpose of each transfer being indicated as “grant”. Since the Human Rights Club (HRC) was not registered, as the chairman of the HRC the transfers were made to my bank accounts. In this case, what kind of illegal entrepreneurship or abuse of office or tax evasion one can talk about?

You may wonder then why I was arrested. Let’s pay attention to the projects examined by the investigators and covered by the indictment:

  • Human rights campaign related to Eurovision — Sing for Democracy; Art for Democracy campaign that uses different types of art to promote and protect human rights; increasing voter turnout on the eve of elections and so on. Along with being in the spotlight of the local and international community, all of these projects were targeted in libellous and insulting articles of the pro-government media which also included the ruling party’s official newspaper Yeni Azerbaijan.
  • Azerbaijani government argues everywhere and at the highest level that there are no political prisoners in Azerbaijan. However I and my colleagues do not argue, but prove that there are political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
  • During the session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe held in June 2014, i.e. shortly before my arrest, a roundtable was held on the gravity of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. I was the person who was directly involved in determination of everything from the technical aspects to the content of the roundtable (together with Intigam Aliyev, Emin Huseynov and Rashid Hajili who are currently persecuted). I was also involved in organising the flash-mob held by our young friends on the day of Ilham Aliyev’s speech. And finally, in the past 2-3 years everyone was asking half-joking, half-serious, when I was going to be arrested. It happened, and now I’m looking forward to your support! Thank you everyone


Rasul Jafarov

Baku Pre-Trial Detention Center (Kurdakhani settlement)
14 August 2014