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Azerbaijan: Sentencing of human rights defender Mr Ilham Amiraslanov to two years imprisonment
On 12 September 2012, human rights defender Mr Ilham Amiraslanov was sentenced to two years imprisonment by Sabirabad District Court. Ilham Amiraslanov is an active member of Kura Civil Union.
He is involved in the ongoing protests against corruption and inefficiency in the delivering of assistance to victims of the flooding of the Kura River in May 2010 in Azerbaijan.
On 12 September, Ilham Amiraslanov was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for unauthorised possession of firearms and ammunition under Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. According to reports, the judge refused to hear the defence witnesses and did not allow the journalists present to enter the courtroom. Ilham Amiraslanov's lawyer believes that neither the investigation nor the trial were conducted objectively, that numerous human rights violations were committed during the arrest of the human rights defender and that the case was politically motivated. The lawyer announced that they would appeal the court decision.
Ilham Amiraslanov was arrested on 8 June 2012 near the village of Esgerbeyli in the region of Sabirabad by police officials from the Department for Combating Organised Crime (DCOC) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The police officers pulled an opaque bag over his head and took him to an unknown location, which he could later identify as the Olympic Complex in Sabirabad. The human rights defender was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention, including being beaten on the head and face.
On 18 June, Ilham Amiraslanov wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General asking him to investigate the illegal activities of the police, including the planting of a weapon on him and the planting of ammunition at his home. In the letter he described in detail how he was beaten on the head, particularly around the eyes and mouth, and kicked by different police officers and verbally humiliated while in detention.
Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned by the sentencing of Ilham Amiraslanov, and believes that it is directly related to his peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights. In light of the reported ill-treatment of Ilham Amiraslanov in detention, Front Line Defenders expresses concern for his physical and psychological integrity.