Azerbaijani journalist Rauf Mirkadirovapplied to the government of Switzerland for a political asylum, journalist’s lawyer, FuadAgayev, told the Caucasian Knot.
The lawyer reminded that Mirkadirov had left Azerbaijan in the middle of September of the current year in order to see his relatives, who live in Switzerland since 2014. “He could leave Azerbaijan based on a court decision on a temporary permission to leave the country on humanitarian grounds. In Switzerland, the journalist applied to the government for a political asylum,”Agayev said.
Commenting on the journalist’s appeal for the political asylum, Oktay Gulaliyev – the head of the Public Alliance Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners – reminded that Mirkadirov’s conviction is still in force in Azerbaijan. “Although the punishment is replaced with a probationary period, he can be sent to jail every moment depending on the political conjuncture,” the human rights defender stated.
According to Gulaliyev, the journalist’s wife and children are in Switzerland.
“After Mirkadirov’s arrest, his wife and two underage children remained in Turkey without any means of subsistence and under a threat of deportation. Only due to the help of international organizations, they could leave Turkey and get asylum in Switzerland. NowMirkadirovhasjoinedhisfamily,”Gulaliyevsaid.
Abstaining from other comments, the journalist confirmed the information of appealing for a politicalasylum.
Rauf Mirkadirov, columnist of Azerbaijani newspaper “Zerkalo”, was arrested on April 18 in Ankara on charges of expiration of documents. On April 19Mirkadirov was deported to Azerbaijan, where he immediately was arrested and put in custody by the MNS on suspicion of treason. On April 21 the court in Baku sanctioned his arrest for three months. Mirkadirovis accused of the cooperation with special services of Armenia; specifically he is accused of making the transfers of the state secret information, including those about the dislocation of Azerbaijani Armed forces to Armenia during 2008-2009.
In March 2016, Baku Court of Appeal handed down a judgement, according to which, Rauf Mirkadirovwas released from jail. The court applied article 70 of the Azerbaijani Criminal code and repealed the decision on the journalist’s detention. The court also replaced the punishment of 6 years of imprisonment with a probationary period of 5 years.
Meanwhile, the website of Baku bureau of Radio Liberty writes that November 4 will mark three years since the beginning of the trial against the former Azerbaijani presidential candidate IlgarMammadov. It is reminded that on March 17 2014, Mammadov – the leader of the civil movement Republican Alternative (REAL) – was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment. Since then, despite the Strasbourg court’s acquittal resolution, calls by international organizations, the Council of Europe, and public opinion, Mammadov remains in jail. “Guards and prisoners repeatedly beat him; he was placed in an isolation ward. However, the chiefs of the prison could not make him apologize and ask for mercy,” the Radio Liberty emphasizes.
According to the article, oppositionists are arrested and condemned on trumped-up charges so often in Azerbaijan that people inadvertently forget aboutMammadov. For example, the disgraced Azerbaijani diplomat ArifMammadov – Azerbaijan’s former ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a forced immigrant based in Brussels with his family –remembered about him.
“Unfortunately, I do not see the mobilization of our society and international organizations for the release of that bright, competent politician. I think that it is necessary to daily pester the international organizations and human right groups in order to release Ilgar. Sometimes it seems like Ilgar’s imprisonment is suitable for many people, and not only the authorities,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
According to him, the REAL leader always stood out not only thanks to his intelligence and original thoughts, but also his openness, and it was so clear that his role was especially noted by the leadership of the Council of Europe.
“Incarcerating Ilgar, the authorities committed a serious crime against our nation depriving the society of a man like him. We consider IlgarMammadov, FuadGahramanli, and GiyasIbrahimov prisoners of conscience. The best sons and daughters of the country, the most literate, decent, and honest citizens of the country are currently imprisoned,”the former ambassador writes emphasizing at the same time that the current Azerbaijani society is the real “prisoner of conscience”.
Besides, in an interview with Radio Liberty, Mammadovmentioned a few details about his efforts on releasing IlgarMammadov from jail.
“In September, we raised this question in the Council of Europe. Then, the Committee of Ministers of the CoE made another decision on Mammadov’s release. The only opportunity is excluding Azerbaijan from the CoE, however, they do not want to do that. It is not a solution. If we are excluded, the citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to apply to the European Court. The official Baku’s ignoring the opinion of the CoEhits the CoE Secretary general and commissioner’s image. Everybody understands that the country should be excluded, however, on the other side, the Azerbaijani nation will most suffer from that,”Mammadov noted.
Answering to the Radio Liberty’s question about why there are no sanctions against Azerbaijan or its representatives, the expert noted that the Azerbaijani authorities pay huge amounts of money to the American lobbyist organization Podesta in order to neutralize the opportunity of sanctions.
“After the upcoming US presidential elections, something may change. I think that the US Ministry of Defense and Department of State do not want to apply sanctions yet, as the president IlhamAliyev provides for their strategic purposes,” the former diplomat said.