Statement of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Azerbaijani National Platform on renewed criminal proceedings against imprisoned blogger, Mehman Huseynov

We, the undersigned members of Azerbaijani National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), condemn the new criminal case initiated by the staff of the penitentiary facility against the imprisoned blogger, Mehman Huseynov. The proceedings are based on Article 315.2 of the Criminal Code (resistance or application of violence towards a representative of authority – application of violence, posing a threat to life or health, punishable by imprisonment from three up to seven years), only two months before the end of his prison term. As Huseynov’s lawyer was not allowed to visit him in Prison No. 14, Huseynov started a dry hunger strike in the penitentiary facility, now reaching its 12th
day.
Mehman was imprisoned because he publicly complained of his experience of police torture, and he was persecuted due to his criticism of government officials, through exposing their unexplained wealth.
This is already the fifth case of this type recently, where a political prisoner is facing new proceedings while in prison just before the end of the current term.
After only two hearings, a Baku court found Huseynov guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison on 3 March 2017. Several appeals were rejected by the courts in Azerbaijan, the latest on 24 August 2018, when a regional court in Garadagh ruled against the motion for Huseynov’s conditional release.
Huseynov is the Director of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and we consider his imprisonment in 2017 a serious threat to civil society and to the freedom of expression.

Mehman Huseynov-AZ-NP-Statement