Document - Azerbaijan: Further information: Facebook activist has appeal rejected

URGENT ACTION

Further information on UA: 133/11 Index: EUR 55/015/2011 Azerbaijan Date: 29 November 2011

URGENT ACTION

FACEBOOK ACTIVIST HAS APPEAL REJECTED

On 29 November Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Jabbar Savalan, a 20 year-old youth activist and prisoner of conscience. He was arrested in February, one day after posting on Facebook calling for protests against the government.

On 4 May 2011, Jabbar Savalan was jailed for two and a half years, convicted on drugs charges that Amnesty International believes were fabricated.

One of Jabbar’s lawyers, Asabali Mustafayev, told Amnesty International that "we still had some hope in our hearts about the Supreme Court reaching a just verdict, but their decision was not surprising. It is very difficult for us to deal with such a judicial system.”

He also said that he planned to submit Jabbar’s case to the European Court of Human Rights as soon as possible

Jabbar is just one of 17 prisoners of conscience currently behind bars in Azerbaijan after the authorities clamped down on peaceful protests in March and April. Amnesty International is using his case to focus international attention on human rights abuses in Azerbaijan during its 2011 Letter Writing Marathon.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Russian, Azeri, Turkish or your own language :

Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Jabbar Savalan, as he is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

P LEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 10 JANUARY 201 2 TO :

President

Ilham Aliyev

Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic 19 Istiqlaliyyat Street Baku AZ1066, AZERBAIJAN

Fax: + 994 12 492 0625 (please keep trying)

Email: office@pa.gov.az

Salutation: Dear President

And copies to:

Ombudswoman

Elmira Suleymanova

40 Uz. Hajibeyov Street

Baku AZ1000, AZERBAIJAN

Fax: +994 12 498 23 65

Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.az

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 133/11. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR55/007/2011/en

URGENT ACTION

FACEBOOK ACTIVIST HAS APPEAL REJECTED

ADditional Information

On 4 February, Jabbar Savalan, a 20-year-old student and member of the opposition Popular Front Party (PFP), posted on Facebook calling for protests against the government to take place in the capital Baku. Hours after the posting he told his family members that he was being followed. The next evening he was arrested in the city of Sumgayit as he returned home from a PFP meeting.

Police officers arrested him without explanation and took him to Sumgayit police station. Once there they asked him to empty his pockets, at which point he discovered 0.74g of marijuana in his outer coat pocket. Police then questioned him without a lawyer for two days, reportedly slapping and intimidating him to make him sign a confession. Jabbar Savalan maintains that he does not use drugs and that the marijuana was planted on him.

On 4 May Jabbar Savalan was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for possessing illegal drugs for personal use. The verdict ignored a blood test taken following his arrest showing he had not used drugs. His family and friends are adamant he does not use drugs, telling Amnesty International that “he did not even smoke or drink.”

There has been no investigation into the allegations that police planted evidence on Jabbar Savalan. His lawyer, Anar Gasimov, told Amnesty International he was threatened by the police officer who interrogated Jabbar Savalan after the trial. The officer told the lawyer that he did not like his closing speech, that he knew Anar Gasimov lived in Sumgayit and that he would “see what I will do for you.”

A month before his arrest, Jabbar Savalan had reposted an article critical of Azerbaijan’s President on Facebook. He had also taken part in an anti-government protest on 20 January.

Name: Jabbar Savalan

Gender: M

Further information on UA: 133/11 Index: EUR 55/015/2011 Issue Date: 29 November 2011

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