Azerbaijan: Sentencing of human rights defender Mr Ilham Amiraslanov to two years imprisonment

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President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President
Istiklal k??. 19
1066 Baku
Azerbaijan

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I am came to know about the situaiton from Front Line Defenders.

On 12 September 2012, human rights defender Mr Ilham Amiraslanov was sentenced to two years imprisonment by Sabirabad District Court. Ilham Amiraslanov is an active member of Kura Civil Union and is involved in the ongoing protests against corruption and inefficiency in the delivering of assistance to victims of the flooding of the Kura River in May 2010 in Azerbaijan.

On 12 September, Ilham Amiraslanov was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for unauthorised possession of firearms and ammunition under Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. According to reports, the judge refused to hear the defence witnesses and did not allow the journalists present to enter the courtroom. Ilham Amiraslanov?s lawyer believes that neither the investigation nor the trial were conducted objectively, that numerous human rights violations were committed during the arrest of the human rights defender and that the case was politically motivated. The lawyer announced that they would appeal the court decision.

Ilham Amiraslanov was arrested on 8 June 2012 near the village of Esgerbeyli in the region of Sabirabad by police officials from the Department for Combating Organised Crime (DCOC) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The police officers pulled an opaque bag over his head and took him to an unknown location, which he could later identify as the Olympic Complex in Sabirabad. The human rights defender was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention, including being beaten on the head and face.

On 18 June, Ilham Amiraslanov wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General asking him to investigate the illegal activities of the police, including the planting of a weapon on him and the planting of ammunition at his home. In the letter he described in detail how he was beaten on the head, particularly around the eyes and mouth, and kicked by different police officers and verbally humiliated while in detention.

I am seriously concerned by the sentencing of Ilham Amiraslanov, and believe that it is directly related to his peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights. In light of the reported ill-treatment of Ilham Amiraslanov in detention, I express concern for his physical and psychological integrity.

I urge the authorities in Azerbaijan to:

1. Immediately quash the conviction of human rights defender Ilham Amiraslanov and effect his immediate and unconditional release, as I believe that he has been convicted solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful human rights work;

2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the arrest and detention of Ilham Amiraslanov and the allegations that he was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment whilst in detention, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ilham Amiraslanov while in detention;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Azerbaijan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Yours Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com

www.williamnicholasgomes.com

www.williamgomes.org

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