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Azerbaijan-Update: Health deterioration of detained human rights defender and lawyer Mr Vidadi Iskenderov
Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the reported health deterioration of human rights defender and lawyer Mr Vidadi Iskenderov, who remains detained since 2011.
Vidadi Iskenderov is Director of the human rights organisation Promotion of Democracy Defence and a member of the civil movement for democracy 'Public Chamber'.
The human rights defender suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney pain and allergies, developed as a result of poor prison conditions and insufficient medical attention. The prison in which Vidadi Iskenderov is being detained in Gyzyl Dash is located close to stone quarries, a factor believed to be exacerbating his declining health.
On 17 April 2011, Vidadi Iskenderov was arrested on his way to observe a protest in Sahil Park in the centre of Baku which was organised by the Public Chamber. He has been held in detention since then. The defender was later charged by Goychay District Court with unlawful interference in the November 2010 parliamentary elections, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. The verdict was upheld by Sheki Court of Appeal on 2 November 2011 and more recently by the Supreme Court on 10 April 2012.
On 22 June 2012, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree to pardon sixty-four prisoners detained for their involvement in pro-democracy protests, however Vidadi Iskenderov was not one of those prisoners included. His lawyer is believed to be preparing a complaint to be lodged with the European Court of Human Rights in light of the exhaustion of domestic remedies.
In June 2012, Front Line Defenders created a virtual football field to symbolically mark the football championship Euro 2012, in which eleven imprisoned human rights defenders form a team of players, one of whom includes Vidadi Iskenderov. See http://www.sportshrd.org/index.html.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the authorities in Azerbaijan to ensure that Vidadi Iskenderov is provided with necessary medical treatment relating to the above mentioned conditions, and that his physical and psychological integrity is guaranteed while in detention.
Front Line Defenders views Vidadi Iskenderov's detention and sentencing as solely motivated by his legitimate human rights activities, in particular his denunciation of electoral fraud and participation in peaceful pro-democracy protests in March and April 2011. We urge the defender's immediate and unconditional release, and for his sentencing to be overturned.
For more information, please see Front Line Defenders' update dated 7 June 2012 (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18576) and urgent appeal dated 25 May 2011 (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15105).
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Azerbaijan. HERE