Updated List of Political Prisoners Publicised in Azerbaijan

The Working Group on the development of the Single List of Political Prisoners has released its updated list of political prisoners. The list has been signed by prominent human rights defenders and representatives of media organisations, NGOs and other civil society groups of the country.

According to the Working Group, the single list builds upon the previous lists with updates being made on the basis of the information and documents received from the mass media, social and political organisations, and lawyers and relatives of arrested persons.

In deciding whether to recognise a person as a political prisoner, the Working Group has referred to the following criteria specified in the Resolution No.1900 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), dated 3 October 2012:

– if the detention has been imposed in violation of one of the fundamental guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols (ECHR), in particular freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association;mehbus

– if the detention has been imposed for purely political reasons without connection to any offence;

– if, for political motives, the length of the detention or its conditions are clearly out of proportion to the offence the person has been found guilty of or is suspected of;

– if, for political motives, he or she is detained in a discriminatory manner as compared to other persons;

– if the detention is the result of proceedings which were clearly unfair and this appears to be connected with political motives of the authorities.

The list provides information on 139 individuals. It consists of two sections. The persons, the prosecution of whom was found to involve political motives as a result of the research carried out by the Working Group, have been included in the Political Prisoners section.

The number of persons recognised as political prisoners by the Working Group is 94. Of them, 6 are journalists and bloggers, 2 are a poet and a writer, 1 is a human rights defender, 5 are youth activists, 5 are politicians, 61 are religious activists, and 3 are prisoners sentenced to life. 11 individuals have been assigned to the group of persons arrested for other political motives, as they did not fit into any of the above categories.

The prisoners, who are recognised as potential political prisoners by the Working Group but the full details of whose cases are lacking due to the difficulties in access to their documents, have been included in the section titled Prisoners Whose Cases Are Under Monitoring. There are 45 such prisoners. The Working Group continues to collect documents and information on these prisoners, and is planning to publicise its decisions on those persons in the near future. The Group needs public support in this endeavour.

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