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Norwegian Helsinki Committee awarded Azerbaijani Political Prisoners with Andrei Sakharov prize

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee awards The Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award in 2014 to political prisoners in Azerbaijan, the site of the committee reads.

"They exhibit great courage and make huge efforts in promoting dignity, democratic values and human rights in their home country. Azerbaijan is a European country that is developing towards dictatorship,” says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), Bjørn Engesland, in today’s press release. 

According to him this award is given to all of the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. 

The statement reads that the authorities in Azerbaijan have for years brutally silenced critics by accusing them of fictive crimes and then sentencing them to lengthy prison terms. Local human rights activists have, by applying the Council of Europe’s criteria, identified 98 political prisoners in the country. Among these prisoners, we find some of the most knowledgeable, experienced and visible human rights defenders, journalists, youth activists and opposition politicians.

"We have a shared responsibility to recognize the terrible situation all these political prisoners are in. We must give them the status they deserve and make a concerted effort to demand that the authorities in Azerbaijan free prisoner,” says Engesland.

Among the 98 political prisoners are also the names of Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus, Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev. 
According to the statement recalls that Azerbaijan took over the chairmanship in May 2014 a new wave of detention of activists started.

The Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award was established in 1980 by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, with the consent and support of Andrei Sakharov, to assist and support people who were imprisoned or persecuted because of their opinions, beliefs or conscience. 

The Sakharov Freedom Award 2014 will be awarded at a ceremony at Hotel Bristol in Oslo on 13 November 2014.



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