Letter on the ongoing detention of Elchin Mammad
In a letter to the Azerbaijani authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the ongoing detention and health of human rights lawyer Elchin Mammad from Azerbaijan.
Elchin Mammad is a human rights lawyer, President of the Social Union of Legal Education of Sumgait Youth (SULESY), an NGO providing free legal assistance to low income families and non-profits, as well as the Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yukselish Namine, which publishes articles on human rights concerns in the country.
Mr. Mammad was arrested by the Sumgait city police on 30 March 2020, a few days after he had published a critical report on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. His office was searched in his absence and the police claimed to have found stolen jewelry. On 31 March 2020, the Sumgait City Court remanded Mr. Mammad as a criminal suspect under Article 177.2.4 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan (“theft causing significant damage”) in custody for three months. While in detention, Mr. Mammad was also charged under Article 288.1 of the Criminal Code (“illegal purchase and posession of firearm accessories”), as the police allegedly found ammunitions during a second search of the SULESY offices.
Mr. Mammad was to be released on 30 June 2020, however, he still remains in detention. It has been reported that the Sumgait City Court rejected various requests of Mr. Mammad’s lawyer to place Mr. Mammad under house arrest.
According to our information, the court is expected to render its decision in the coming weeks. We have serious concerns about the health of Mr. Mammad. He suffers from Hepatitis C and we understand that his health has seriously deteriorated while in detention, including kidney issues and swollen legs. In addition, the overcrowding and poor prison conditions in Azerbaijan create an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Lawyers for Lawyers urges the authorities of Azerbaijan to release and drop all charges against Mr. Mammad unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees and put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Mammad, including at the judicial level and to guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Azerbaijan are able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
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