The opposition movement leader is not going to file a petition for release because he considers himself innocent" />

Azerbaijani authorities are ready for talks about releasing political prisoner Ilgar Mammadov

The opposition movement leader is not going to file a petition for release because he considers himself innocent

For the first time in many years, Azerbaijani authorities hinted at the possibility of a conditional release for Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the opposition movement ‘Republican Alternative’ (ReAl).

On 6 December, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe began a trial against Azerbaijan in connection with the refusal to ensure Mammadov’s unconditional release, as decided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2014.

The ECHR repeatedly called for Mammadov’s immediate and unconditional release.

“Three years from the moment the court passed a judgement, and the claimant remains in custody on the basis of a distorted criminal case,” read a statement circulated by the press service of the Council of Europe.

Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the ReAl movement was arrested in connection with unrest in the city of Ismayili which took place on 23 and 24 January 2013. Despite having arrived in the city after peace was restored, Mammadov was accused of organizing riots and resisting police. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

On 7 December, Novrus Mammadov, the Azerbaijani presidential aide on foreign affairs, said that Ilgar Mammadov may be released under certain circumstances.

The presidential aid accused the Council of Europe of having double standards yet again and called the European Union, and the Council of Europe a ‘Christian club’. He also didn’t forget about ‘Islamophobia’ in these organizations.

Observers noted the importance of the fact that, for the first time, Azerbaijani authorities announced the possibility of an early release for Ilgar Mammadov.

The presidential aid also said that Mammadov may be conditionally released if he writes a request for it, as he has already served two-thirds of his sentence. “We’re ready to negotiate,” Trend Agency reported Novruz Mammadov saying.

“We are also ready for such talks,” said Fuad Agayev, Ilgar Mammadov’s lawyer. However, the lawyer said that his client does not intend to ask for a mitigation of punishment because he considers himself innocent and insists on full justice.

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