AZERBAIJAN / Detained August 8, 2014 – March 28, 2016
UPDATE: Released from custody on March 28, 2016. Awarded “Civil Rights Defender of the Year” Award in April 2016.
On April 22, 2015 a court in Azerbaijan, sentenced Intigam Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s leading human rights lawyer, to seven years and six months in prison on politically motivated charges of tax evasion, illegal business activities, embezzlement, and abuse of authority. Aliyev is a lawyer and chair of the Legal Education Society, which litigated human rights cases in domestic courts. In his closing statement to the court, Aliyev said: “Arrests can take away our freedom, but not our desire for freedom. Our arrest continues our struggle for freedom.” On July 14, 2015, 95 lawyers from 24 countries released a public letter to President Aliyev urging for the immediate and unconditional release of Intigam and highlighting the deteriorating health of lawyer. On July 21, the Court of Appeals rejected Intigam’s appeal request.