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Azerbaijani SC leaves human rights defender Vidadi Iskenderov in prison
On April 10, the Supreme Court (SC) of Azerbaijan chaired by Judge Gyulzar Rzaeva dismissed an appeal filed by human rights defender Vidadi Iskenderov and upheld the verdicts of guilty pronounced by lower court instances.
The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on August 27, 2011, the Goychay District Court of Azerbaijan sentenced Vidadi Iskenderov to 3 years of imprisonment on charges of unlawful interference in the electoral process at the parliamentary elections held on November 7, 2010. On November 2, 2011, the Sheki Court of Appeal upheld the verdict.
According to lawyer Yalchin Imanov, court hearings at the Supreme Court were held with the participation of Vidadi Iskenderov. According to him, Vidadi Iskenderov reiterated his innocence and claimed the political motives of the criminal case.
Vidadi Iskenderov has also stated that at the colony he is under pressure to write a motion for pardon. Otherwise, the human rights defender is threatened with new criminal prosecution and extension of imprisonment sentence, the lawyer stated.
Vidadi Iskenderov believes that this pressure is associated with the international criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities in connection with the problem of political prisoners and the presence in the country of "prisoners of conscience". However, the human rights defender refuses to write a motion for pardon, since it would mean admission of his guilt, the lawyer concluded.
Yalchin Imanov also reported on the bad state of Vidadi Iskenderov's health and said that his client suffered from acute pancreatic diabetes. The human rights defender has a possibility to take medication; however, at the same time, he is deprived of the possibility to receive regular hospital treatment, necessary for persons suffering from this disease.
According to the lawyer, in regard to Vidadi Iskenderov, several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights "prohibition of torture", "right to a fair trial", "freedom of expression", and "prohibition of discrimination" were violated.
Yalchin Imanov reported that within six months after the verdict of the Supreme Court, Vidadi Iskenderov has the right to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). "The complaint to the Strasbourg ECtHR is bound to be filed," assured the defender.
The lawyer believes that Vidadi Iskenderov is being persecuted for his active civil position, human rights activities, and participation in opposition rallies.
In their turn, officials from the General Prosecutor's Office stated that the prosecutors' position was presented at the trial at the Supreme Court and that the investigators insist on guilt of Vidadi Iskenderov.
Officials from the Supreme Court refused to comment. The office of the Court stated that each person, who is unsatisfied with the decisions of national courts of Azerbaijan, has the right to file a complaint to the ECtHR.
It should be noted that the international organization "Amnesty International" (AI) recognized Vidadi Iskenderov as "a prisoner of conscience".
See earlier reports: "Foreign diplomats in Azerbaijan had a meeting with convicted human rights activist Iskenderov," "Azerbaijani Court of Appeal upholds verdict to rights defender Vidadi Iskenderov," "Azerbaijani rights defender Vidadi Iskenderov convicted," "Azerbaijani rights defender Vidadi Iskenderov faces threat of 3-5.5 years of imprisonment," "Azerbaijani rights defender Iskenderov arrested for his union activities, his colleagues believe."
Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent
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