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The long-standing criminal case against “Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners” Public Alliance head, human rights defender Ogtay Gulaliyev has been dismissed, as reported by the human rights defender himself.
Member of the Council of the EITI Coalition and Chairman of Public Association for Democratic Reform Ogtay Gulaliyev has long been under an international travel ban due to a criminal case dating back to 2012. On 23 June 2016, after applying for a new passport, he was taken to the police station where he was informed about the ban. Gulaliyev was originally sentenced to 12-day administrative imprisonment for minor hooliganism on 9 April 2012. However, a day before the expiration of his administrative sentence, i.e. on 20 April 2012, Gulaliyev was sentenced to two-months of pre-trial detention and charged with “active disobedience to authorities’ legal orders” and “incitement to mass riots and to violence against citizens”. On 13 June 2012, Sabirabad Regional Court replaced Gulaliyev’s pre-trial detention with police supervision and he was released. However, the criminal case against him remained open.
According to Gulaliyev, he was invited to Sabirabad Regional Police Department on October 23 and was served with the decision on the termination of the criminal case.
“At the police department, I was also told that I would be provided with a passport in the coming days, and the travel ban imposed on me would also be lifted. I believe that just like the initiation of the groundless criminal case against me, the termination of this case has also been under political instructions. Undoubtedly, such a political will is directly related to the fact that Azerbaijan’s status at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will be on the table during the EITI International Board meeting in Astana on October 26,” Ogtay Gulaliyev said.