Azerbaijani activist Salekh Rustamov ends his 41-day- long hunger strike, may be released from prison
Political prisoner Salekh Rustamov ends hunger strike
Political prisoner Salekh Rustamov announced the end of the 41-day hunger strike. According to information disseminated on social media, it was decided to transfer Rustamov to a civil hospital, and then release him from prison, however, authorities have not confirmed this information yet.
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On December 13, the political prisoner Salekh Rustamov, who is currently being treated in the medical facility of the penitentiary service, announced the transition to a “dry hunger strike”. Prior to that, his hunger strike in protest against the illegal arrest had been going on for 38 days. Doctors reported that Rustamli, who was weakened to the limit because of the hunger strike, could fall into a coma at any moment.
On December 16, in the morning, the son of a political prisoner, Sezgin Rustamov, announced on his Twitter that his father fell into a coma and only regained consciousness after the intervention of doctors.
A little later, human rights activist Rufat Safarov announced that Rustamov decided to end the hunger strike: “Salekh Rustamov ended the hunger strike. Good news will follow. We hope that he will be released”, Safarov wrote on his Facebook page.
“On behalf of the state, my father was promised that he would be transferred to a civil hospital today or tomorrow, and then released from prison. I hope they will keep their word”, Sezgin Rustamov later wrote on his Twitter.
At the beginning of this week, Rufat Safarov and two other human rights defenders met with the Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Vilayat Eyvazov and other responsible officials. The meeting lasted three hours.
According to information disseminated in the Azerbaijani segment of social media, at this meeting, human rights activists stressed the importance of the release of the political prisoner Saleh Rustamov and several other arrested activists.
After that, on December 15, as a result of a second consideration of the appeal, the court released young activist Rustam Ismailbeyli, who was arrested on December 1, 2021, on the day of the protest against the arrest of Salekh Rustamov. It is worth noting that Ismailbeyli did not participate in the action. The decision to release the young activist is also regarded as being a result of the meeting of human rights activists with the head of the country’s Interior Ministry.
“Salekh Rustamli ended his hunger strike. Rufat Safarov was the first to share this information on social media, however, without any details.
And the details are as follows: on behalf of the state, Saleh Rustamli was given guarantees the injustice against him would end and that he would be released prison as he deserves. After these guarantees, Saleh Bey ended his hunger strike.
For 41 days, not only Saleh Rustamli himself was in the center of public attention, but also his right to freedom. Only because of his struggle for this right, Salekh-bey was in the center of public attention.
I believe that in the coming days this right of his will be officially recognized as well. In the meantime, he probably has to go through a long rehabilitation process.
A 41-day hunger strike leads to serious health complications. You can be released without overcoming these complications, but the return to normal life may never happen.
Salekh Rustamli took the guarantees on behalf of the state seriously and ended the hunger strike. The responsibility for the next step rests with the state that gave these guarantees”, Azerbaijani journalist Ganimat Zahid living in France, wrote on his Facebook page.
Azerbaijani police arrest, beat over 40 protesters at rally for hunger-striking Saleh Rustamov. Video
Over 40 people arrested, beaten as a result of a violent crackdown of a rally in Baku. On December 1, protesters gathered at the Fountain Square to demand the release of imprisoned, hunger-striking Saleh Rustamov
Who is Saleh Rustamov?
In 1992-1993 – during the reign of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan, Salekh Rustamov served as the head of the executive power of the Gedebek region of Azerbaijan. Rustamov participated in the first Karabakh war. In 1992, he was one of the leaders of the operation to liberate the Bashkend village of the Gadabay region.
Rustamov, who has been living in Russia since 1997 and is currently a citizen of Russia, was managing a business there. On several occasions, Rustamov sent small amounts of money to the individual representatives of the Popular Front Party, of which he is a member.
In May 2018, he came to Azerbaijan for the funeral of a loved one and was arrested. He was accused of drug trafficking, illegal business activities, and legalization of money earned by illegal means. According to the materials of the criminal case, he illegally financed the PFPA.
In February 2019, the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Rustamov to 7 years and three months in prison and confiscated his property and the property of his relatives.
In early November 2021, the parliament of Azerbaijan adopted an amnesty law, which included the participants of the first and second Karabakh wars, however, Rustamov was excluded from that list. On November 6, he went on a hunger strike. On November 19, several non-governmental organizations, human rights activists and the media appealed to the president of the country with a request to release Rustamov. Doctors of the prison hospital warned of the grave condition of the activist. Meanwhile, Rustamov has announced his intention to go on a dry hunger strike.
Saleh Rustamov claims that his arrest is illegal and politically motivated and demands to be released.
A number of NGOs and human rights activists, political parties, a group of residents of the Gadabay region, a group of veterans of the first Karabakh war, and the family of the national hero from Gedebek, Ilham Aliyev, appealed to the president with a request to release Saleh Rustamov.