Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Seven and a Half Years in Prison

On 22 April 2015, Intigam Aliyev an internationally renowned human rights lawyer was sentenced to seven and half years in prison. He was found guilty on politically motivated charges of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of office.

Intigam Aliyev becomes the second high profile human rights defender in less than a week to be sentenced in Azerbaijan, following the recent trial of Rasul Jafarov who received a six and a half year prison term on similar charges.

In what is seen by Civil Rights Defenders and the international community as a systematic campaign by the authorities to eradicate any semblance of civil society in Azerbaijan, the totalitarian regime has now begun to bring to trial many of the human rights defenders already held in pre-trial detention.

“The relentless efforts of the authorities to discredit and punish civil society for daring to speak out highlights the unjust and shameful behaviour of the regime,” said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director, Civil Rights Defenders. “Using the law and the judiciary to torment human rights defenders instead of enforcing justice clearly shows how the authorities are prepared to use whatever means are available to them to silence civil society actors”.

The alarming crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan and now the sentencing of Rasul Jafarov and Intigam Aliev provides a clear indication of the intention of the regime; to punitively silence all opposition towards the government.

Civil Rights Defenders call on the EU and the international community to openly condemn this politically motivated trial against Intigam Aliev and release all human rights defenders who are being held in pre-trial detention or currently serving prison sentences in Azerbaijan.