ECHR to consider the case of Azerbaijani hunger-striking activist Salekh Rustamov
Salekh Rustamov’s case in the European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has addressed the Azerbaijani authorities to discuss the adoption of interim measures in the case of opposition leader Saleh Rustamov, who has been on a hunger strike in prison for 28 days, Rustamov’s lawyer Agil Layic stated.
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“We appealed to the European court to apply interim measures in the case of Saleh Rustamov, who is being held in the prison hospital of the penitentiary service and continuing his hunger strike. We ask for his transfer to a private and modern hospital amid the risk of him falling into a clinical coma.
On December 2, the European Court of Human Rights requested the Azerbaijani authorities to report on Rustamov’s state of health, the conditions in which he is being kept, and the personnel currently in charge of his treatment.
I hope Saleh-bey will end his hunger strike, otherwise, given the state of health care in the country, he will have to transferred to a specialized and well-equipped clinic for urgent resuscitation”, Agil Laiyj wrote.
Red Cross representaives visited Rustamov
According to Sezgin Rustamov, the son of Salekh Rustamov, on December 3, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited his father in the prison hospital, and noted that the prisoner’s condition could worsen at any time:
“Lawyer Bahruz Bayramov met with my father. When the lawyer asked about his health, he did not want to answer. Today representatives of the Red Cross also visited my father and got examined the results of his tests. They noted that father’s state of health could deteriorate critically at any moment”, Sezgin Rustamov wrote on his Facebook page.
Arrests at the rally in support of Rustamov
On December 1, a protest in support of Saleh Rustamov took place in the center of Baku. Dozens of people were detained and beaten. Former political prisoner, well-known opposition leader Tofig Yagublu was subjected to severe violence. Pasha Dadashzade, a 65-year-old member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), had his arm broken.
Five of the detainees were sentenced to an administrative arrest of 15-30 days. Among them was a young activist, Rustam Ismayilbeyli, who did not participate in the rally and was simply walking around in the city center an hour and a half after the rally had been dispersed.
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, Saleh 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 enterprise, 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 warn 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.
Today, on December 4, a protest in support of Salekh Rustamov will take place in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in the city of Strasbourg, France.