Azerbaijan: imprisoned activists nominated for human rights award

Leyla Yunus, one of the nominees for the award has been imprisoned since July.

Leyla Yunus, one of the nominees for the award has been imprisoned since July.

A group of human rights activists currently held in detention as part of a crackdown on anti-government voices in Azerbaijan have this month been nominated for the European Parliament’s Sakharov award for ‘standing up for European values’.

The group, which is made up of Leyla Yunus, Rasul Jafarov and Intiqam Aliyev, were nominated by members of the European parliament for their work defending the basic human rights of European citizens.

The nomination has been viewed as a political statement by many observers, who see it as a call to Azerbaijan to fix their current record on human rights. A statement released on the subject noted that the nomination was being given for the group’s efforts in sharing the details of 98 political prisoners currently being detained by the Azerbaijani regime. The statement also said that the group’s efforts supported European ideals of combatting repression and standing for basic human rights.

Yunus, Jafarov and Aliyev are also joined by Amar Mammadili, an Azeri election observer and journalist who was shortlisted for the award for his work towards political transparency and democracy in Azerbaijan.

The Sakharov prize is awarded by the European Union to individuals and groups for outstanding work in the field of human rights and can only be received after a nomination is given by an EU party or a group of 40 MEPs. Previous recipients of the award include Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.

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