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Azerbaijan: Ten Years Imprisonment for anti-Government Graffiti
In response to a court in Azerbaijan sentencing a 22-year old to 10 years imprisonment for writing “Happy Slaves Day” on a monument of the late president Heydar Aliyev – father of the country’s current president – Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The prison sentence for 22-year old Qiyas Ibragimov followed his being tortured and being found guilty of bogus charges of drug possession,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “The government is intolerant of dissent or free expression of any kind, demonstrating its fear of public opinion.”
Ibragimov was arrested in May, 2016, after he and fellow activist Bayram Mammadov sprayed the slogan “‘Happy Slaves Day’” on the monument, in Baku. They were tortured while in custody, as documented by the UN Torture Mission. Ibragimov is a member of the N!DA youth; Mammadov is awaiting trial.
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.86 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.