In response to the Azerbaijani government sentencing prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov to six-and-a-half years imprisonment on charges of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion, abuse of power and forgery committed by a civil servant, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We condemn the politically motivated imprisonment of Rasul Jafarov, who was convicted on ludicrous charges,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia programs. “They fit a pattern of prosecutions against leading human rights defenders and investigative journalists, including Leyla Yunus, Intigam Aliyev, Emin Huseynov and Khadija Ismail, on trumped up charges.
The Azerbaijani authorities seem purposefully oblivious to the irony of sentencing an activist on counts of financial wrong-doing, given that President, Ilham Aliyev has accrued great wealth while in power. We urge Europe’s leaders not to attend the June 12, 2015 European Games, as a clear condemnation of Azerbaijan’s actions.”