At least 40 prisoners infected with coronavirus in Azerbaijan, including one political prisoner
About 40 inmates in Baku’s Prison №2 are believed to have contracted the coronavirus and have been transferred to a specialized medical institution.
Over the past day, 388 people have been infected in Azerbaijan, and since the start of the epidemic, a total of 27,521 people have been infected. 354 people have died, and 18 967 have recovered. The strict quarantine has been extended until August 5, all businesses are closed, and people can only leave their homes for 3 hours a day and only with special SMS permission from the authorities.
Among the infected is Popular Front opposition member, activist, and political prisoner Agil Maharramli, who has been in prison since 2018. It was his family who reported this information to the Azerbaijani media.
“Agil is not in great condition, he has a fever.
He was taken to the hospital yesterday afternoon,” his mother told journalists.
The Maharramli family says that there have been complaints of high fever and sore throat among the prisoners for a while, but that prison authorities have not done anything about it.
“The government is responsible for their condition,” the Maharramli family states and demands a response from the authorities.
- Azerbaijanis demand quarantine end, medical officials desperately request social distancing measures be observed
- Azerbaijani activists complain of blackmail, harassment by authorities
No government structures have either confirmed or denied this information. Reports of coronavirus infection in prisons have appeared on social networks and in the media in Azerbaijan several times since the beginning of the pandemic, but have never been officially confirmed.
Agil Maharramli was arrested on May 25, 2018. Officially, he was charged with money laundering. He did not admit his guilt, like his supporters.
Various reports, including Radio Voice of America, say that Agil Maharramli was repeatedly tortured in prison. Azerbaijani human rights organization SMDT recognized him as a political prisoner.
The Azerbaijani authorities do not recognize the presence of political prisoners in the country. However, SMDT reports that as of June 2020, 108 political prisoners are being held in prisons within the country.
In March 2020, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was also recognized as a political prisoner, was released early from prison. Immediately after his release, he left to be with his family in Germany.