Source: Meydan TV

Activist Azad Hasanov on hunger strike, demands his own release

Main opposition Musavat Party’s activist, who lived as a migrant in Lithuania and got arrested the day after he came to visit his sick father in Baku, said he had been on a hunger strike in the detention center for already seven days.

Talking at his trial Azad Hasanov said he would continue hunger strike until he lost consciousness.

"This is my protest against injustice [in Azerbaijan]," Hasanov was quoted as saying on July 29.

Hasanov, who lived in Lithuania as a political refugee, arrived in Baku on October 10 the last year to visit his father, who was suffering of a serious illness at one of the local hospitals.

Hasanov allegedly crossed the border without a problem but was detained by police officers in Baku the other day.

Hasanov is accused of possession and sale of illicit drugs. If found guilty, the activist might be sent to 5 to 12 years imprisonment along with confiscation of his property.

Hasanov filed a petition to the Baku detention center where he is detained now so that he is taken under the control of the doctor. "I also talked about it with the head of the detention center. The general situation is not bad, " Hasanov’s lawyer Oktay Kazimov told RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service.

Mehman Sadigov, head of the Public Relations Department of the Penitentiary Service, told RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service that hunger strike is a right that cannot be denied by the prison authorities.

"If a person detained is on a hunger strike, he or she should address the management of the enterprise in a written statement and thus his rights envisaged by law will be provided," Sadigov said.

During the trial process it was also found out that there was still no answer to the inquiry sent to the Baku City Police Office about three months ago.

The Baku court sent the request to the Baku City Police Office early May to clarify whether Hasanov or the police officers were right.

Since then the court was not able to get a respond to the inquiry."It should be noted in the protocol that the court cannot get a sheet of paper from the Baku City Police Office and the court has failed in front of the police system," said Kazimov, on July 29 in the courtroom.

The court date has been postponed to Aug. 5. After the trial, a rally was held in the city center of Baku where the rally participants demanded the release of Hasanov.

Police dispersed the crowd and and took the placards with saying "Freedom to Azad Hasanov!" written on them away from demonstrators. Some of them were been detained and taken into custody.

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