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2023, 31 Mart, Cümə, Bakı vaxtı 19:08

Shahin Novruzlu, Is Demanding Confiscated Money Back

Azerbaijan -- youth activist Shahin Novruzlu

Novruzlu, who is one of the seven N!DA activists arrested in 2013, was described following the arrest, as the youngest political prisoner. Police claimed they allegedly found Molotov cocktail and drugs at his father’s apartment during the search. He was sentenced to six years in jail but was released after a presidential pardon in 2014.

But although it has already been a little over a year since his release the money confiscated from his father’s apartment is nowhere to be seen. According to Novruzlu, the money was actually transferred to the state budget.

To address this issue, Novruzlu wrote a letter to the Ministry of National Security demanding the return of the 94,100AZN and 750USD that were taken.

In his statement Novruzlu says he was tortured during his arrest. He lost four of his teeth. He was forced to write a statement confessing to his crimes which was aired on public television channels immediately. “This was the direct violation of my right to presumption of innocence”, says Novruzlu. “While some of these things will eventually resolve some perhaps won’t. But the money taken from our apartment continues to create many problems for my family” reads the statement.

Novruzlu says his father was unable to pay the debt. “You know the consequences of this. My father died on October 14 of cardiac rupture. Five days later I was released after the presidential pardon” but none of this solved the issue of debt, which Novruzlu says is impossible to pay back given he has one working parent who is also paying for the tuition of one sibling studying abroad and is taking care of the two children back in Azerbaijan. “The money must be returned, as I do not want to see my mother go through what my father did”.

Three of NIDA members including Novruzlu were arrested on March 7, 2013. Within a month, four more members were arrested. N!DA [exclamation mark] was behind mass protests in 2013, demanding to end noncombat deaths of soldiers in Azerbaijan. All seven members were charged with creating mass disorder and illegal possession of arms and sentenced between 6 to 8 years in jail.

While four of the members-Shahin Novruzlu, Bakhtiyar Guliyev, Uzeyir Mammadli, Zaur Gurbanli were released, three- Rashad Hasanov (7.5 years), Rashadat (8 years) Akhundov, and Mammad Azizov (7.5 years) remain behind bars.