Public Prosecutor Seeks Nine-Year Prison Sentence for Rasul Jafarov

At the Baku Court of Grave Crimes the hearing has begun against prominent Azerbaijani human rights defender Rasul Jafarov who has been kept in pre-trial detention since August 02. The Public Prosecutor is seeking a nine year prison sentence for Jafarov and in addition to the numerous charges levied against him two more have been added; misappropriation and falsification of documents.

“Civil Rights Defenders condemns this politically motivated court case against Rasul Jafarov, who is an internationally recognised human rights defender, and demands his immediate release and acquittal. There is a strong onus on the International Community to vigorously campaign for the regime led persecution of Rasul Jafarov and other human rights defenders who languish in prison in Azerbaijan,” said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director, Civil Rights Defenders.

Jafarov is Chairman of the Human Rights Club, and coordinated the “Sing for Democracy” campaign that used the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 as a platform to improve human rights awareness in Azerbaijan. He was arrested on August 02 by the Azerbaijani authorities and kept in pre-trial detention on trumped up charges of tax evasion, illegal commercial activity and abuse of authority.

Jafarov’s lawyer Alibaba Rzayev made a speech at the hearing chaired by judge Eldar Ismayilov where he asked to Court to issue a judgement acquitting his client due to the invalidity of the charges. The case is set to continue tomorrow morning, 15 April at 10.00am. Civil Rights Defenders will be closely monitoring developments.