Opposition leader, presidential candidate imprisoned since 4 February 2014
ROLE: Chairman and opposition leader for Republican Alternative (REAL) party, potential presidential candidate, director of Baku School for Political Studies.
FOCUS: The REAL party, founded in 2009, envisions Azerbaijan as a parliamentary – rather than a presidential – republic. It views the establishing of a democratic society and potential integration into the EU and NATO as major long-term goals of the movement. According to some sources, the activists involved in the movement number around 1200.
ARRESTED: 4 February 2013
CHARGE: Organising mass disorder and resisting arrest.
CONVICTED: On 17 March 2014, Mammadov was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Sheki Court in Baku.
CURRENT STATUS: Imprisoned. Release date March 2017. Mammadov’s release has been ordered several times by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, following a May 2014 ruling on his case by the European Court of Human Rights, which judged his arrest to be politically motivated and a violation of his human rights. Despite this, he remains in jail and in April 2016, his appeal was rejected. He has suffered cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment while in jail, and in October 2015 was subject to ill treatment, being severely beaten while in prison.
CASE DETAILS: On 23-24 January 2013, protests broke out in the province of Ismailli in north-west Azerbaijan. Vugar Alakbarov, the son of Labour and Social Security Minister Fizulu Alakbarov and nephew of District Governor Nizami Alakbarov, had reportedly attacked a taxi driver following a traffic incident and insulted local residents. The violent response of the local residents included setting cars alight and burning down a hotel alleged to belong to District Governor Nizami Alakbarov. The protests continued the following day, eliciting a confrontation with security forces who responded with force.
In a statement, Ilgar Mammadov said that he travelled to the region to observe the protests and played no role in stirring up unrest amongst the local population.
Between Mammadov’s arrest and his conviction over a year later, he was held for more than nine months at a pre-trial detention centre despite the lack of evidence against him. The prosecution claimed that this was to prevent the possibility of Mammadov fleeing if released.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Prior to his arrest, Mammadov – a prominent blogger and critic of the Aliyev government – had made clear his intention to run as a candidate in the 2013 presidential elections.
According to Mammadov’s lawyer, Mammadov is regularly asked by prison officials to sign a confession and petition for a presidential pardon from Ilham Aliyev. Mammadov has declined on the basis that it would amount to an admission of guilt.
Compiled by ARTICLE 19 from a variety of sources. Current as of 15/06/2016.