A prison cell will be opened at Prague to support political prisoners in AzerbaijanPublished: Oct 10, 2014 Reading time: 3 minutes
Prague, 10th October, 2014 – On October, 14th, People in Need will build a prison cell at Náměstí Míru square in Prague in order to emphasize the recent wave of repressions and the increase of the number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The prison cell will remain on the square for the whole afternoon, from 2 pm till 6 pm, and it will be open to anybody who would like to support the prisoners and wear the prisoners‘ garments for symbolic five minutes. There will also be a petition demanding the release of prisoners and an exhibition on human rights in Azerbaijan.
At 4 pm, there will be a presentation of the event for journalists featuring Vugar Gojajev from Azerbaijan, who currently works for Human Rights Watch, a human rights organization in Berlin. The former dissident and human rights activist Jan Ruml also promised to participate. ‚Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček will also participate in the event; he is expected at 4h30 pm, at the same time as blogger and activist from Burma Nay Phone Latt, who spent five years in jail as a political prisoner. ‚Anyone can write a postcard which we will send to unjustly detained prisoners‘, says Adéla Pospíchalová from People in Need. ‘It is immense moral support for them’. ‘We are convinced that international attention can help political prisoners, to make sure they are treated better or released sooner’, says Ms. Pospíchalová. ‘For this reason, we invite politicians from different political parties and publicly known personalities’.
Tomáš Halík, President of Czech Christian Academy and the Templeton Prize laureatе, says: ‘I think about all persecuted defenders of freedom and democracy in Azerbaijan. Dear friends, today, in our country, we remember the twenty-fifth anniversary of the events which, unexpectedly and in a peaceful way, overthrew the power that used to abuse human rights and civil freedoms. We firmly believe that each unjust government will sooner or later fall, and the hopes of all those who wish for freedom and are willing to bring great sacrifices will come true. Friends, you are not forgotten!”
In recent months there has been a significant deterioration in regards to human rights in Azerbaijan. The government has increased the level of repression, coercion and intimidation against NGOs, civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders. Many of them were arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Among those who have recently been detained are well known human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov and Homo Homini Human Rights Award laureate Intigam Aliyev, who are all facing heavy sentences based on trumped-up charges.
Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus that has been ruled for decades by the Aliyev family clan, which has ensured its power through harsh repressions and by building up a solid dictatorship based on oil revenues. Azerbaijan is famous for its manipulation of elections, the suppression of freedom of speech, getting rid of undesirable non-governmental organizations, its persecution of independent journalists and for holding political opponents in prison.
There are currently around 100 political prisoners being held in Azerbaijani prisons.
Adéla Pospíchalová, Člověk v tísni
tel.: 777 787 968, mail: email@example.com