Wednesday, December 9

One political prisoner in, another out

Looks like Aliyevistan is determined to keep the number of political prisoners as it is. While today (December 9) friends and colleagues of veteran human rights activist and director of Peace and Democracy Institute LeylaYunus celebrated her release from jail on 5- year suspended sentence another political activist was arrested. Fuad Gahramanli, vice president of Azerbaijan's Popular Front was arrested on charges of calling to overthrow the state.

The statement of the prosecutor office said that after investigating Gahramanli's Facebook account as of September 2015, enough evidence was found showing Gahramanli was calling on the citizens to mobilize against the authorities and that Gahramanli incited residents of Nardaran to extremism and religious discrimination. 

While Gahramanli's lawyer is preparing to appeal the decision, Yunus's lawyer said while he welcomed the release of the couple he is not satisfied with the charges and the suspended release. 

The first thing Leyla Yunus did following her release was to visit her mother's grave. She looked extremely weak but her wit was very much alive. She sighted a Russian poem and told journalists to go home and read. "Read Solzhenitsyn, Dr. Jivago, Pasternak, read..." she said as she was being walked home by her husband Arif Yunus who too was released under the same five year suspended sentence. 

When one of the journalists asked her how she felt about the court's decision, Leyla Yunus replied "fantastic", and cited the following poem by Fyodor Tyutchev:
It's not given us to foretell
how our words will echo through the ages,
but sympathy is given us
as grace is given us.
This summer Leyla Yunus was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in jail while her husband Arif Yunus was sentenced to 7 years.

But there are many others remain behind bars. My thoughts are with Khadija Ismayil, Intigam Aliyev, Seymur Hazi, Parviz Hashimli, Rasul Jafarov, Ilgar Mamedov, Anar Mammadli, N!DA activists and young bloggers as well as many others. 

In the meantime, congratulations to the Yunus family.

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