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Washington calls for the release of imprisoned Azerbaijani activist Hajiyev

13 February 2023
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev standing next graffiti calling for his release after he was arrested in 2012 for evading military service. Image via Facebook.

The US Department of State has called for the release of the imprisoned human rights activist Bakhtiyav Hajiyev, who is over a month into a hunger strike.

‘We are deeply troubled that Azerbaijani activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev has remained in detention since the eve of International Human Rights Day last December and that he continues to face charges widely understood as politically motivated,’ read a statement issued Saturday by the department’s spokesperson Ned Price.

Price cited Hajiyev’s medical reports, which indicate that the activist’s condition is rapidly deteriorating and that he is at risk of going into a coma due to his ongoing hunger strike.

Price also called for the release of ‘all those imprisoned for exercising their fundamental freedoms’.

‘We encourage all steps aimed at systemic reforms in Azerbaijan and around the world, especially the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,’ he said.

Hajiyev, who was arrested on 9 December on charges of hooliganism, started his hunger strike on 9 January. His lawyer, Zibeyda Sadigova, told OC Media that Hajiyev was transferred to the Penitentiary Service’s medical facility due to his deteriorating health on 10 February.

Sadigova and the rest of Hajiyev’s defence team claim to have only been informed of his transfer the following day, adding that he was taken to the treatment facility ‘against his will’.


She said that the penitentiary service confiscated all of his personal documents and notes following his transfer.

‘The management of the detention centre took Hajiyev’s documents, records of his health status, court decisions, sheets of phone numbers, and telephone codes for calling his close relatives. They took the papers and have not returned them to this day,’ she said.

Hajiyev was denied a request to be released on bail on account of his deteriorating health on 24 January, with the court upholding his pre-trial arrest until the end of February.

[Read more on OC Media: Court denies bail to Azerbaijani activist despite ‘deteriorating health’]

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