Two more N!DA activists released
Two more N!DA activists have been released from prison following a presidential pardon in Azerbaijan. Zaur Gurbanli and Uzeyir Mammadli were released 30 December 2014 after 1 year 9 months imprisonment. Their release follows the good news in October of the same year, when fellow activists Shahan Novrzulu and Bakhtiyar Guliev were also pardoned.
Eight N!DA activists in total were arrested in 2013 and sentenced to six to eight years in prison. They were arrested on trumped up charges after creating a Facebook group calling for peaceful protest.
They were allegedly tortured in detention to obtain their confessions. Shahin Novruzlu, who was 17 years old at the time of his arrest, lost four of his front teeth, and Mammad Azizov lost hearing in one ear after being beaten in police custody.
While we are pleased to hear of these pardons, our work isn’t over yet. Mammad Azizov, Rashad Hasanov, Ilkin Rustamzade and Rashadat Akhundov remain behind bars. They were imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.
These remaining activists are Prisoners of Conscience, and we must keep the pressure on the Azerbaijan government until these young activists are set free.