The Committee to defend the rights of arrested Tolishy Sado newspaper editor Hilal Mammadov has handed in 4,000 + signature petition to the President of Azerbaijan, calling for the journalist’s release. On July 16 the Committee held a press conference at IRFS’s Azerbaijan Media and Human Rights Center on the results of the petition campaign.
“Hilal Mammadov is deprived of effective legal defense. The judge of Baku Grave Crimes Court, Azer Orujov does not allow the journalist to prove his innocence, interrupts his speeches, interferes with his lawyers’ questions and openly defends the prosecution witnesses” said head of the Azeri-Talysh Public Union, Mehdibay Safarov.
“Hilal Mammadov is prosecuted for his active civil position, human rights activities and protection of the rights of Novruzali Mammadov, the former head of the Talysh Cultural Center (who died in prison). We do not want Hilal Mammadov to share a similar fate with him, and are therefore calling on the president to put an end to this injustice” he added.
Member of the Committee Defending Hilal Mammadov’s Rights, Arzuman Majidli believes the consent to the arrest of Tolishy Sado’s chief editor was given by the political leadership of the country.
“Hilal Mammadov has always defended the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and equality of all the nationalities living in the country”, noted the deputy chairman of the Movement of Azerbaijani Intellectuals, Seyran Rafiyev.
It was noted in the appeal addressed to the President that the investigation and court proceedings on Hilal Mammadov’s case are carried in an unlawful and unfair way.
“We assess the arrest of Hilal Mammadov, an expert in the sphere of studies on national and moral values and cultural heritage of his nation, as a violation of human rights and democratic values. We ask you to demonstrate humanism on the eve of the presidential elections and help to release the editor from prison” the appeal concludes.