Azerbaijan: Imprisoned writer Rashad Ramazanov ends hunger strike

English PEN welcomes the news that writer and blogger Rashad Ramazanov has now ended his hunger strike. His family, who visited him in prison in Baku on 24 January 2019, said that he remains in poor health. He is still protesting against his continuous detention on politically-motivated grounds.

Rashad Ramazanov was arrested almost six years ago and sentenced to nine years in prison on fabricated charges of illegal possession and sale of drugs. PEN is deeply concerned for his health and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release.

TAKE ACTION

Spread the word

Share details of Rashad Ramazanov’s case with friends and colleagues and on social media. #RashadRamazanov

Write to the authorities

Please send appeals to the Azerbaijani authorities via your embassy:

  • Protesting Rashad Ramazanov’s detention on politically-motivated charges, and calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally and to overturn his conviction and sentence;
  • Expressing serious concern for his health and well-being and ensuring that, pending his release, he is provided with adequate medical care;
  • Calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to comply with their obligations under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Azerbaijan is a state party) to protect the right to freedom of expression.

Please send your letters via the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in your country.  Addresses may be found here.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 25 February 2019. ***

Please inform PEN of any action you take and of any responses you receive.

SOLIDARITY

Solidarity messages are crucial to Rashad Ramazanov and his family. Please keep sending messages of support to:

Rashad Ramazanov
Baku Prison #2
2 Cezachekme Muessisesi,
Khazar Rayonu, Bina Qesebesi,
AZ 1045 Baku
Azerbaijan

Rashad Ramazanov is an honorary member of PEN Canada. For more information about PEN Canada’s activities and solidarity campaign please click here.

Background

Writer and blogger Rashad Ramazanov (pen-name Rashad Hagigat Agaaddin) was arrested on 9 May 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of ‘illegal possession and sale of drugs’ (Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code). Rashad Ramazanov is well-known for his anti-government postings and PEN International considers the charges against him to be politically-motivated. He suffers from a number of health problems as a result of his imprisonment, most serious being tuberculosis, which he contracted when he was arbitrarily detained in 2005.

Rashad Ramazanov was one of several Azerbaijani prisoners, activists and opposition figures who went on hunger strike in solidarity with jailed anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, against whom the Azerbaijani authorities brought new spurious charges in December 2018, just weeks before his scheduled release, in a bid to keep him detained.

The case prompted a national and international outcry. On 17 January 2019, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to end their crackdown on dissent and immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained, including Rashad Ramazanov and Mehman Huseynov. Two days later, thousands rallied in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in support with the prisoners. On 22 January, the Azerbaijani authorities announced that the new charges against Mehman Huseynov had been dropped.

For more information about freedom of expression in Azerbaijan please click here.

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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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