Azerbaijani opposition leader announces prison hunger strike
Popular Front opposition party member Murad Adilov has gone on hunger strike in prison, reports his brother and journalist Natig Adilov.
Adilov says he has gone on hunger strike because his application for release on parole has been rejected.
Adilov was convicted in 2015 on charges of drug possession and sentenced to six years in prison. He denies all charges against him.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International included him in their list of political prisoners the following year. On 5 September 2018, Adilov filed for release on parole as he had served two-thirds of his sentence. However, his application was denied with the authorities referring to a prison rule which he had apparently violated: for smoking in a non-smoking designated area.
The activist’s brother said that he “has serious health problems and his nerves are at their limit”, and added that he did not approve of such a form of protest.
One of the goals of the hunger strike is to attract the attention of the international community, which, according to Adilov, has not paid enough attention to his case.
The Penitentiary Service of Azerbaijan said that they were unaware of his hunger strike.
“We received no information regarding the beginning of the hunger strike carried out by Murad Adilov,” said Mehman Sadigov, head of the public relations department.
This is not the first time that political prisoners in Azerbaijan go on hunger strike. For example, in June of this year, another member of the Popular Front party, Fizuli Huseynov, resorted to the same form of protest.