The sentencing of a human rights lawyer and outspoken government opponent in Azerbaijan to seven and a half years in jail on forged charges shows the authorities’ desperate attempt to silence all critics ahead of the start of the European Games, said Amnesty International.
Intigam Aliyev, head of the NGO Legal Education Society, was sentenced to seven and a half years on charges of tax avoidance, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power.
“Intigam Aliyev is the latest victim of a concerted campaign by authorities in Azerbaijan to sweep all of the country’s problems under the carpet as they prepare to host the largest European sports event in less than two months. The message is: Tell the world about our problems and you will be punished,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“The only ‘crime’ Intigam Aliyev has committed is to defend the human rights of his fellow citizens. He should have never been jailed in the first place and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”