Write for Rights at UCV - Dec 11, 2016

Tortured and jailed for graffiti

Two young students, Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, dared to criticize the state in the most public way they could. They painted a defiant message on the statue of Azerbaijan’s former president – on the eve of his birthday.

The following day, 10 May 2016, they were arrested and jailed on trumped up charges. Authorities beat both young men into confessing to carrying heroin. “They took my pants off and threatened to rape me with a baton,” Bayram later wrote from prison. “I had to ‘confess’ and sign a statement drafted by them.”

Bayram and Giyas protested in the only way they knew how. Fed up with an increasingly authoritarian state, Bayram and Giyas sprayed an angry message on the statue of Azerbaijan’s former president, whose son currently rules the country. The message read “Happy slave day”, a play on the slogan “Happy Flower Day” which is celebrated on 10 May, the former president’s birthday. The young men posted a photo of their action on Facebook on 9 May 2016. They were arrested within a few hours and charged with possessing drugs.

Bayram and Giyas say that the police planted heroin on them. The fact that they were arrested shortly after painting the statue, and that they were only interrogated about the graffiti, exposes the charges for what they are: a complete fabrication.

On October 25, Giyas received a sentence of 10 years in prison. Bayram is locked up awaiting trial. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison - all for a Facebook post criticizing the government.

Articles 5 and 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

No one shall be subjected to cruel, degrading treatment.

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

Please write to:

Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku, AZ 1066

Start your letter with:
Dear President,

Please send a copy of your letter to:

Mr. Ramil Huseynli
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Azerbaijan
275 Slater Street, Suite 1203
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H9

Begin or end your letter with this request

Ask him to ensure that Bayram and Giyas are released immediately and that false drug-related charges brought against them are dropped.

Write in your own words

Describe who you are and what concerns you about the continued detention of Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov.

Show Bayram and Giyas your support

Show Bayram and Giyas that you support them. Send them cards, letters or drawings. Please include "Möhkәm ol" (“Stay strong”) in your message.

Bayram Mammadov / Giyas Ibrahimov
Baki Investigation Isolator
(Kurdakhany Detention Facility)
Sabunchu District
Zabrat 2 settlement
AZ 1104

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