One room inside Intigal Aliyev’s home is devoted to books only. Shelves stacked with literature from all over the world and boxes on the floor with more books that are yet to find their place. Many of the books travel the unlikely journey – from Aliyev’s home to his cell in a prison where currently he serves the 7-½ year sentence.
“In the past year that our father was in jail he already received over 100 books. He has read most of them even though the lighting in his cell is bad and Aliyev is suffering from poor eyesight”.
“Most of these books remain within the walls of prison because after our father finishes reading them he shares them with other inmates, even prison employees. So we cannot always bring them back home”.
Intigam Aliyev’s son, Nacmin says from the first day in prison the family was warned not to bring political literature. “So we mostly take fiction or books on law”.
Most of the books that the family does end up bringing back home are full of notes and references. He even made a note for Khadija Ismayil to translate the “Kite Runner” once again.
Intigam Aliyev’s daughter Narmin says her father continues to work on himself. “He would call from prison and ask me to research roots of certain words and make sure I explained to him whatever I would find during our phone call.”
The children also often engage in discussions with their father about books they all have read.
Aliyev also began working on his English.
But sadly over the past few months, Intigam Aliyev has been deprived of even this small and yet very important treat.
According to his daughter prison staff are not letting her father read or write. “After he was moved from detention center to prison, over thirty of his books were taken for inspection. The last time we went to visit him; we brought more books with us. But these books too were taken away for inspection. And although it has been a month these books are still nowhere to be see. I don’t understand why its taking this long. I am hoping they will soon be returned to him. But he is also not allowed to write or make notes” said Narmin in an interview with AzadliqRadiosu.
Human rights defender Intigam Aliyev was arrested in August 2014. The Baku Court for Grave Crimes sentenced him to 7 ½ years in prison in April 2015. He was found guilty on charges of tax evasion, abuse of authority, appropriation, illegal entrepreneurship and fraud. Among his close friends and colleagues Aliyev is known for his honesty and sincerity. All saw charges as absurd and simply a measure to silence the country’s most prominent rights defender who has taken over 200 cases to the European Court of Human Rights and taught many of his disciples law.
But even in jail, Intigam Aliyev remains strong. He even started learning English. Azadliq Radiosu spoke to his two children about their father’s current state and his love for books.
The original of the interview can be found here.