“Line of Defense” appealed to Ilham Aliyev with a request to release Saleh Rustamov

November 13th, 2021

The  health of the former head of the Executive Power of the Gadabay region, Saleh Rustamov, who is on hunger strike for the 8th day, continues to deteriorate, said his lawyer Bahruz Bayramov.

The reason for the action is not the spread of the act of amnesty to Rustamov, his detention in prison for more than 3.5 years, the confiscation of  his property.

The lawyer met with Rustamov today at the Medical Institution of the Penitentiary Service.

“Saleh Rustamov’s  health is getting worse every day. He is very lethargic, can hardly move,” Bayramov said. Rustamov is under the supervision of doctors.

“Yesterday, on November 12, representatives of the ombudsman’s office, together with doctors, visited him. His pulse has risen to 120, but his blood pressure is still normal. There are sores in the mouth,” Bayramov said.

He conveyed to Rustamov the request of his relatives to abandon the dry hunger strike and stop the action. However, according to the lawyer, Rustamov is persistent in his intention to go on a dry hunger strike from November 16.

At the same time, the lawyer said that Rustamov was taken out of the punishment cell and placed in another room with normal conditions, a heating system.

In turn, the NGO “Line of Protection” appealed to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev with a request to release Rustamov.

The authors of the appeal point out that Rustamov was unjustly sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison and was openly subjected to pressure on the grounds of discrimination during his detention in  jail N13.

“Mr. President, the human rights organization “Line of Defense” is convinced that Saleh Rustamov is not the culprit of any socially dangerous act or other action prohibited by law. In society, and especially among lawyers and human rights activists, there is no doubt that he was prosecuted and unlawfully punished for providing financial assistance at the expense of legal income from business in the Russian Federation to Azerbaijani political prisoners and their families. As a human rights organization, we ask you to pay attention to the ongoing hunger strike of Saleh Rustamov in the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice and instruct to consider his legal demands, otherwise, he intends to start a fatal hunger strike, which could lead to tragic consequences,” the appeal says.

The “line of defense” as a whole draws attention to the problem of persecution of citizens for political reasons and notes the need to stop this vicious practice and release all political prisoners. The attempts to get comments from the Penitentiary Service are futile.

On November 5, the Azerbaijani parliament adopted a decision on amnesty. It was announced that the amnesty will affect about 16,000 people, of whom only 3,000 will be released.

* PFPA supporter Saleh Rustamov was arrested in May 2018 and sentenced to 7 years 3 months in prison in the so-called case of “illegal financing of the PFPA.” Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner. The Supreme Court subsequently reduced the sentence by 2 months.