April 22, Grave Crimes Court in Baku sentenced prominent human rights defender Intigam Aliyev to seven and half years. He was found guilty of tax evasion, abuse of authority, illegal enterpreneurship, and appropriation.
In his final statement Aliyev said, "In this country it is a crime to have an alternative opinion, to talk about election fraud, and discuss issues of political prisoners on an international level. Yes, I confess that I was engaged in many of these criminal activities and as a result damaged the government's reputation heavily. In this case, the request to jail me for ten years doesn't sound like a heavy sentence."
Intigam Aliyev sent over 200 cases to the European Court of Human Rights, most if not all were cases of political rights violations.
"If West and Europe are Azerbaijan's enemies then why our country remains a member of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations and conventions; why does our country ends up spending large sums of financial resources from the state budget to renovate museums, historical sites, and the construction of non-historical monuments in Europe?" asked Aliyev.
"And if this not the case why do we jail supporters of European integration, shut down their organizations, kick out influential Western institutions, and prevent their representatives from entering the country?" added Aliyev.
"I am not ashamed of anything that I did, nor do I regret my arrest. Even while in prison and after I am released I plan to continue my work. As for my friends who are in jail already, I am honored to be sharing the same faith of imprisonment with them. Arrests might take our freedom from us, but not our desire for freedom. A free person is free anywhere".
Aliyev was arrested on August 8, 2014.