16,000 prisoners to be granted amnesty in Azerbaijan amid Day of Victory in Karabakh war
Mass amnesty bill adopted in Azerbaijan
The Parliament of Azerbaijan has adopted a mass amnesty bill. According to preliminary data, at least 16,000 prisoners will be affected by it. Experts positively assess the decision positive, but emphasize that it does not solve the problem of political prisoners.
- “There are no political prisoners in Georgia,” President Zurabishvili disagrees with US Senator
- Letters from prison: Freedom – and a crumpled life
- ‘Not a Gulag’: Russian prison administration calls for penal servitude to replace migrant labour
Today, at the plenary session of the Milli Mejlis (Azerbaijani parliament), the bill “On the declaration of amnesty amid the November 8 Victory Day” was adopted. The act of amnesty was submitted to the deputies by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and is timed to the anniversary of the country’s victory in the second Karabakh war.
According to preliminary data, more than 16,000 convicts will fall under the amnesty. The amnesty act will cover the following categories of prisoners:
▪️ persons who fought to protect the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as well as close relatives of those who died or disappeared during the war;
▪️ persons awarded orders and medals for participation in military operations for protection of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as well as for other special merits;
▪️ persons who “became disabled as a result of the military provocation of Armenia against the civilian population during the second Karabakh war, as well as their close relatives”;
▪️ persons “who became disabled during the Khojaly genocide, close relatives of those killed or missing during that period”;
▪️ persons deported from Armenia in 1948-1953 and 1988-1992;
▪️ persons who “became internally displaced persons as a result of the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia in 1988-1993”;
▪️ persons who became disabled as a result of the tragedy of January 20, 1990 or close relatives of those killed on that day;
▪️ persons who participated in peacekeeping operations and fulfilled their international duty in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, as well as the former USSR, as well as close relatives of those who died or disappeared while performing these duties;
▪️ persons who took part in the Second World War, as well as served at that time in the Armed Forces of the former USSR, in the rear, and were awarded orders and medals of the former USSR;
▪️ close relatives of people killed or missing in the World War II;
▪️ persons who were subjected to political repression during the `Soviet rule and subsequently rehabilitated by the decision of the appropriate authorities, as well as their close relatives;
▪️ persons who took part in the liquidation of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as their relatives;
▪️ persons who were less than 18 years old at the time of committing the crime, as well as people who have reached the age of 60 or have disabilities of groups I and II;
▪️ persons who have a minor child or a child with disabilities of I and II groups under their care.
According to Rufat Safarov, human rights activist and co-founder of the human rights organization Line of Defense, human rights defenders had high expectations and hopes regarding the upcoming amnesty on the occasion of Victory Day.
“However, the articles of the draft law on amnesty indicate that it cannot be called a“ golden amnesty ”, since it most likely will not affect people whose only fault is their political activity and opposition”, Safarov noted.
“I expected that the amnesty would affect the riot police, who were sentenced to life imprisonment and have been held in Gobustan prison for almost 30 years. Although these people committed a particularly grave crime by participating in a military rebellion, 30 years in prison, in my opinion, is a sufficient punishment for people who, not sparing their stomachs, fought for their homeland”, he added.
The coordinator of the Committee against Repression and Torture, Namizad Safarov, believes that on the occasion of the Victory Day, a “golden amnesty” should be announced, which would affect a wide range of convicts.
“Acts of amnesty are adopted in Azerbaijan with political discrimination. Our amnesty does not apply to persons arrested for political beliefs and views. Although these persons are being charged under various articles of the Criminal Code, it is obvious that the criminal cases against them are far-fetched and fabricated”,said Safarov.