625 people pardoned in Azerbaijan, including 38 political prisoners
Amnesty decree in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an amnesty decree pardoning 625 convicts.
The list includes the names of 38 political prisoners; participants of the 1995 riots and those detained in the ‘Terter case’ in 2017 were not pardoned.
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Among those pardoned, three were serving life sentences. The preventive measure against them was changed to 25 years in prison.
The pardon order also applies to 24 people from eight foreign countries.
Seven of them are citizens of Iran, six are from Georgia, four from Russia, two from Turkey, two from Cameroon, one from Pakistan, one from Kazakhstan and one from Afghanistan.
23 foreigners sentenced to imprisonment were released from the unserved part of the sentence. Also, the unserved part of the punishment for one citizen of a foreign country has been halved.
38 political prisoners included in the list of pardoned
The list of those pardoned also includes 38 convicts who are considered political prisoners.
Among them, 28 people were convicted in the case of riots in the Nardaran settlement in the suburbs of Baku in 2015.
In 2015, the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan harshly suppressed mass protests of the the Muslim Unity Movement in the village of Nardaran. As a result of the confrontation with the authorities, several people died, and dozens of participants in the riots were detained and arrested.
Four members of the Popular Front party were also released, among them journalist Elchin Ismail.
One person convicted in the 2018 Ganja riots case has been released.
One member of the Islamic Party, convicted of protesting against the ban on wearing the hijab at school, is released.
Another pardoned political prisoner is a relative of a political emigrant living abroad.
Who was not among the pardoned?
None of the three members of the disbanded OPON sentenced to life terms were included in the list of pardons. They are the last remaining members of the former OPON in custody.
In March 1995, a special police detachment (OPON) under the leadership of Colonel Rovshan Javadov raised a riot against the government. As a result of the brutal suppression of the riot, several OPON members were killed, including Javad, hundreds of people were sentenced to various terms. Years later, they were all released. The last three members of the former OPON hid for a long time after the riot, then were detained and convicted of several crimes, including the murder of government officials.
Also, those arrested in the sensational “Terter case” of 2017 were not pardoned.
After the “four-day war” with the Armenian armed forces on the front line in Karabakh, several servicemen of the Azerbaijani army were arrested in 2016, accused of collaborating with the enemy’s special services.