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Azerbaijani human rights defender sentenced to 6.5 years

Rasul Jafarov, an Azerbaijani human rights defender who had compiled data on more than 100 Azerbaijani political prisoners, was himself sentenced to six and a half years in prison on politically motivated charges. The Sport for Rights coalition “resolutely condemns” his sentencing and calls for his “immediate release.”

Azerbaijan is silencing dozens of critics and human rights defenders in an intensifying crackdown, freezing bank accounts and trumping up charges. Jafarov was convicted of tax evasion, illegal business, and abuse of office — the very same charges laid against Emin Huseynov. The Sport for Rights coalition notes Huseynov’s “fabricated charges—an act of revenge by the regime in response to his criticism of Azerbaijan’s poor human rights record in the international arena.”

The coalition’s demand for these activists’ and journalists’ release – in addition to sanctions against the Azerbaijan government – is cosigned by several other human rights organisations.