INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNED REGARDING DEATH OF NOVRUZALI MAMMADOV

August 19th, 2009
International human rights organizations expressed concern in connection with “Tolishi-sado” newspaper Editor-in-chief Novruzali Mammadov’s death. International Committee against Torture Representative Delfin Rekulo told Radio Liberty, “We believe that Mammadov was not given proper treatment in prison and therefore his health worsened and eventually he died.”

London based Amnesty International received information about failure to give N.Mammadov food and drink in prison. Spokesperson of the organization Lidia Aroyo said, “We called on Azerbaijan’s government to transfer Mammadov to a civil hospital with proper conditions and provide him with appropriate treatment. Unfortunately this was not enough and it was too late. Mammadov passed away. We will investigate this issue.”
The representatives of both organizations emphasized that Mammadov’s trial was not fair, and his arrest might have been politically motivated. Lidia Aroyo said that they are concerned that Mammadov was imprisoned for his journalist activity, for researching and promoting Talysh cultural rights.
Delfin Rekulo stated that they will urge the administration to conduct independent and effective investigation into the death of N.Mammadov.
Note that investigation into the death of N.Mammadov is being carried out in the Nizami Prosecutor’s Office. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety was told by the Penitentiary Services Public Relations Department that Court Medical Examination results in connection with the death are not ready yet. According to initial opinion, his death occurred as a result of severe thrombosis of brain.  
On 17 August, “Tolishi Sado” Newspaper Editor-in-chief N.Mammadov died in the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Services Central Hospital. Mammadov was transferred to the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Services Central Hospital on 28 July 2009 after his health worsened. In 2007, during a closed hearing, N.Mammadov was sentenced to ten year imprisonment under article 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. However, N.Mammadov, who has Talysh nationality, did not consider himself guilty and claimed that his arrest was related to ethnic-political motives and freedom of speech.