"I would be happy to give up my freedom for theirs"
Intigam Aliyev interview with AzadliqRadiosu on his arrival home shortly after his release.
"I am going through a mix of emotions. I won't speak about plenary session's decision. Of course I am happy to be free. Because it is not the time to be resting. It was unjust of me while people outside [in freedom] were busy working in difficult conditions. That is why, my release is important, I will now take over some of the cases. But I am also sad. Because some of my friends are still in jail. And I would be happy to give up my freedom for theirs. In general however things are moving ahead. And I have no doubts that they will be released soon. Azerbaijan will be freed soon too. Despite all the repression and pressure, Azerbaijani community continues to fight for democracy and freedoms. This gives me a lot of hope. And it gave me a lot of hope there [in jail] as we received support from our friends, comrades, international communities. It showed this community's passion for freedom and that it is impossible to suffocate it with arrests, and pressure. I would like to thank you all of you. And also I am sad you had to wait for me outside all this time. I am sorry and thank you!"
March 28, after 19 months of imprisonment, human rights defender, Intigam Aliyev was released from jail.
Intigam Aliyev was sentenced August 22, 2015 to seven and a half years on tax evasion, abuse of authority, illegal entrepreneurship, and appropriation charges. Prior to his arrest, Aliyev represented some 100 cases at the European Court of Human Rights. International community condemned the sentence and arrest.
Today, court in Baku commuted Aliyev's 7.5years to a suspended 5 year sentence.
Intigam Aliyev's release comes shortly after President Aliyev signed amnesty pardoning 14 political prisoners on March 17.
Commenting on the release, Sport for Rights coalition posted the following statement online:
"The Sport for Rights coalition is deeply relieved for Intigam Aliyev, and notes that his release was the right step. However, we emphasise that like our other recently released colleagues, Aliyev never should have spent a single day in jail. Further, Aliyev's politically motivated criminal conviction still stands; we call for his conviction to be immediately quashed."
"We also note that dozens of political prisoners remain in Azerbaijani jails, including journalists Khadija Ismayilova and Seymur Hezi, youth activist Ilkin Rustemzade, and opposition REAL movement leader Ilgar Mammadov, whose release has been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights."
"We call once again for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan!"
President of the Parliamentary Assembly at the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt also shared the following tweet: