Election monitor, released March 2016 after over 2 years’ imprisonment.
ROLE: Chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDSC), the only domestic election observation group in Azerbaijan. EMDSC has been in operation since 2001.
FOCUS: Election monitoring
CHARGE: Appropriation in significant size, tax evasion, illegal enterprise and abuse of power.
CONVICTED: Mammadli was arrested on 16 December 2013 and placed in pre-trial detention for three months. On May 26 2014, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, a decision he went on to appeal. On 26 August 2015, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan upheld the sentence of five and a half years in prison against him.
CASE DETAILS: Mammadli was among the first victims of an unprecedented wave of repression against NGOs in Azerbaijan. The charges brought against him stem from the fact that the organisation he is chairperson for, EMDSC, is not a state-registered organisation. The procedures for registration in Azerbaijan made it impossible for organisations critical of the government to register.
CURRENT STATUS: Released. On 17 March 2016, Anar Mamadli was among 148 prisoners released by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, via presidential pardon.
Nevertheless, Mammadli still faces a fine of approximately 13 000 USD due to the non-registration of EMDSC and his bank account remains blocked.
Since being released, Mammadli has stated his intention to continue educating the population about civic rights, to enhance voter education and to work on the reform of the electoral system.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Mammadli is one of the most prominent and well-respected human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. EMDSC has conducted independent and countrywide observations of citizens’ elections in Azerbaijan since 2001. EMDSC is a member of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), and on 10 December 2013 – just six days before his arrest – Mammadli was elected to EPDE’s board.
One of the likely provoking factors in Mammadli’s arrest was the publication of several critical reports regarding the 9 October 2013 presidential elections, and in particular the electoral process. President Ilham Aliyev won more than 84% of the vote – the leading opposition candidate just 5%.
In October 2014, the Council of Europe awarded Mammadli the highly-regarded Vaclav Havel human rights prize, which aims to “reward civil society action in the defence of human rights.”
Compiled by ARTICLE 19 from a variety of sources. Last updated 17/06/2016.