Published: 14 Jul 2016 | By Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mammadli

If Azerbaijan is a democracy, why were we imprisoned for our views?

Article

Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev, Images courtesy of People in Need’s “Doubling Down on Repression” exhibition.
Anar Mammadli,
Rasul Jafarov,
& Intigam Aliyev.
Images courtesy of
People in Need’s
“Doubling Down
on Repression”
exhibition.

Reflections on the rule of law in Azerbaijan

In recent months, the Azerbaijani authorities have released a number of imprisoned human rights defenders, including the authors of this article. However, with dozens of political prisoners still behind bars, their release cannot be interpreted as a sea change in government attitudes towards critical voices.

Intigam Aliyev is a lawyer, Rasul Jafarov is a human rights activist, Anar Mammadli is the head of an election monitoring group. EHRAC is supporting partner lawyers in Azerbaijan in litigating Intigam’s and Rasul’s cases, among others, at the European Court of Human Rights. These cases concern the legality of their arrests and detention; the conditions of their pre-trial detention, and transport between the detention facility and the domestic court; and the way in which their trials were conducted. Aside from the judgment delivered in Rasul’s case on 17 March 2016, judgments are pending in all of these cases.

This article has been reproduced, with some editorial changes and updates, courtesy of the Guardian News & Media Ltd. A version of this article was originally published on 31 March 2016.