Prisoners in Azerbaijan can now go on vacation
Prisoners on vacation
For the first time in Azerbaijan, convicts were allowed to go home for vacation. According to the Penitentiary Service, prisoners visited their family members’ homes for several days without hindrance.
The prison staff did not accompany the prisoners during the vacation; the latter met with their relatives and after spending about 7-8 days with them returned of their own volition.
“So far, eight convicts have visited their family members and returned,” the Prison Service said.
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Previously, prisoners were only released to attend funerals
Until now, prisoners were allowed to attend funerals only in case of death of their closest relatives. They had to be accompanied by officers of the Prison Service.
This issue has long been in the center of attention during politically motivated arrests. For example, when the daughter of opposition politician Tofik Yagublu died, several requests were sent to the Prison Service to allow the latter to attend the funeral.
A similar situation occurred when blogger Mehman Huseynov lost his mother, and the Penitentiary Service delayed responding to requests. But in the end, both Tofig Yagublu and Mehman Huseynov were able to attend the funerals of their loved ones.
A new chief of service and new rules
It is reported that this was the initiative of the new head of the Penitentiary Service, Mirsaleh Seidov.
“Furlough for prisoners is the first case in the Penitentiary Service. In addition, numerous innovations have been implemented by the order of the newly appointed head of the service, Mirsaleh Seyidov. A new call center has been created, accounts in social networks have been involved, the fight against corruption in detention centers and penitentiary institutions has been toughened,” the Penitentiary Service told Baku Khabar.
Seyidov, 46, was appointed Deputy Justice Minister, head of the Penitentiary Service in July 2023. Prior to that, he worked as head of the operational and regime department of the Penitentiary Service. From 2009 to 2016, he was the head of Prisons 15 and then 10.
In his previous positions he was recognized among convicts and their relatives as a fair and law-abiding official. When he was first appointed to this position, even relatives of those considered political prisoners by human rights activists and former political prisoners themselves shared their good impressions of Seyidov on social networks.
“Furloughs will play a positive role in the correction of prisoners”
Rufat Safarov, executive director of the human rights organization “Line of Defense”, believes that this will bring good results:
“Letting prisoners go on vacation not only to participate in funerals is an innovation and, of course, very good news.”
Human rights activist Saadat Bananyarly believes that vacations will play a positive role in the correction of prisoners:
"I was left chained to the bed without food and water for three days"
The report of public association “The Center for Investigations against Torture” dated June 5, 2022 states that prisons in the country have turned into torture chambers: “In these institutions, prisoners encounter severe torture, and sometimes die.”
“In the future, this may also lead to a reduction in the sentences of these individuals. The fact that prison staff do not accompany prisoners on vacation shows that these people have learned from their mistakes and are already showing hope for correction. Free meetings with relatives will have a positive impact on the psychology and health of prisoners.
This practice is applied in a number of foreign countries. Doing it here shows that the rights of convicts in our country are protected, and conditions for meetings with relatives in a comfortable, home-like environment have been created.”