Hasan Huseynli, an NGO boss and activist was this week jailed for 6 years by Azeri authorities in what is suspected to be a politically motivated case.
Huseynli, who ran the educational charity Intelligent Citizen was arrest in March on an assault charge and last week given a sentence of six years. Authorities say that Huseynli is guilty of stabbing a man, though many have claimed the charges are false.
It is believed that Huseynli’s arrest was motivated by his NGO’s work and his public promotion of civil society in Axerbaijan.
The US Embassy in Baku, who previously worked with Huseynli and his NGO have described the case as ‘extremely suspicious’. In a statement to press they said “ Given his mild manner and history of promoting civic engagement and education, it is virtually impossible to believe Huseynli used a knife against a local resident.”
Huseynli now joins the growing list of activists, politicians and journalists imprisoned by Azerbaijan in cases believed to be politically-motivated.
In response to criticisms raised around the case one member of the ruling party told the Institute for War and Peace Reporting “None of this has any basis in fact. The media are free, and NGOs too can function,” he said. “No one gets arrested for their actions. If someone fails to obey the law, that’s his own personal problem.”