ROLE: Activist of the Kur Civil Society and head of the Sarisu Regional Social Initiatives Public Union.
ARRESTED: 8 June 2012 in the village of Esgerbeyli, near Sabirabad.
CHARGE: Possession of arms and ammunition (Article 228 of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code)
CONVICTED: On 12 September 2012, to two years in prison
CASE DETAILS: On 8 June 2012, Amiraslanov was arrested by officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Anti-Organised Crime Unit. The officials placed a bag over his head and forced him into a car. In a letter Amiraslanov wrote which was circulated by the Azerbaijani media on 19 June 2012, he described being tortured by the officials, who beat and kicked him, attempted to choke him, and threatened him with rape. He also reported that the officials planted a gun on him and forced him to sign a confession stating that the weapon was his. In the letter Amiraslanov said he needed urgent medical attention. Officials later reportedly found additional weapons at his home.
Amiraslanov’s arrest came three days after his meeting with Minister for Emergency situations Kamaladdin Heydarov. A Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesman has said Amiraslanov cannot be considered to be a human rights activist because he has two previous criminal convictions. Amiraslanov was held in pre-trial detention in the village of Khurdakhani. On 18 June Human Rights Ombudswoman Elmira Suleymanova visited Amiraslanov in detention, and reportedly asked the detention centre officials to provide Amiraslanov with medical care.
CURRENT STATUS: Sabirabad court convicted Amiraslanov on 12 September 2012 to two years in prison after only two hearings, in which Judge Firdovsi Aliyev, refused to hear the defendant’s witnesses.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Amiraslanov is the second Kur Civil Society activist to be targeted recently as the group’s coordinator, Ogtay Gulaliyev, also faces jail time on charges of hooliganism. Kur Civil Society has been outspoken about the rights of local residents in the Sabirabad region in the aftermath of the mass flooding in the region in 2010, claiming that many victims have not been properly compensated by the authorities. The group believes its activists are facing pressure because it plans to publicise information showing that only very little of the 500 million AZN allocated for compensation has benefitted flood victims.
Compiled by ARTICLE 19 from a variety of sources. Current as of 14/09/2012.
Picture courtesy of www.contact.az.