Hunger Strike Prisoner Stitched Up Mouth in Azerbaijan’s Gobustan Prison

Society Materials 14 September 2007 15:39 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr K. Zarbaliyeva / One of the hunger striker prisoners in Azerbaijan's Gobustan closed prison has stitched up his mouth, according to the letter addressed by the prisoners to the media and NGOs on 14 September.

The convicts say that 15 prisoners whose death sentence was changed to life imprisonment are on hunger strike in the Gobustan prison. The convicts who feel that their requirements are legal have demanded the Azerbaijani Government to fulfil Items 8.8 and 8.9 of the Resolution 1545 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). They say in the letter that this resolution indicates bad maintenance conditions, frequent suicides and deaths in the Gobustan prison.

In order to solve the problem preceding from the abolition of the death sentence, the resolution recommends that each convict's case be considered and that they be issued with a more acceptable punishment. "There are convicts amongst us who have not appealed to the Supreme Court, but they also were given the same response as the convicts who did appeal. The prisoners demand that the President be informed of their legal demands and for him to make fair decision.

One of the prisoners on hunger strike, Rauf Eyvazov, ended his hunger strike, the PR head of the Azerbaijan Penitentiary Service's Central Department, Mehman Sadigov, said.

The relatives of the prisoners reported 10 convicts went on hunger strike on 12 September. They deny one of the convicts suspended the hunger-strike.

Eighty-four convicts, whose death sentence was changed to life imprisonment, are imprisoned in the Gobustan Closed Prison. After the death sentence was abolished, the number increased to 128.

The inmates believe that their sentence should be replaced by the hardest punishment in the country that is 15 years' imprisonment.

The decision of the European Court on Human Rights says that replacement of the death sentence to life imprisonment corresponds with the European Convention. The European Court indicated that life imprisonment is easier than death sentence and cannot be considered a serious punishment.