IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EaP CSF member Rasul Jafarov nominated for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014
Active EaP CSF Forum participant and human rights defender, Rasul Jafarov, who was detained last month in Azerbaijan, has been nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014.
In light of his extensive work to expose human rights violations in Azerbaijan Rasul Jafarov was nominated alone other prominent human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Intiqam Aliyev who have also been detained on falsified charges by the authorities.
By nominating them for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2014, the European Parliament would send a strong signal to a region vital to Europe at a moment when courageous human rights defenders are needed more than ever,” said a statement from the European Stability Initiative.
Rasul Jafarov is an active member of Working Group 1 of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF). He is also the founder of Human Rights Club, an unregistered human rights NGO in Azerbaijan, and initiator of the highly successful ‘Sing for Democracy’ and ‘Art for Democracy’ campaigns, which strived to publicize Azerbaijan’s poor human rights record.
The activist has been in pre-trial detention since early August following the release of a comprehensive list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, to which he contributed. The list, which includes the names of 98 political prisoners, was last updated on 10 August 2014 and submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Human rights organizations are underlining the importance of Mr. Jafarov’s work given that Azerbaijan has ‘unleashed an unprecedented wave of repression, targeting opposition politicians, journalists, civil society representatives, and human rights defenders’ despite having assumed chairmanship of the European Council in May and being bound by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The prize, set up in 1988, is awarded annually on 10 December by the European Parliament to honour individuals for their efforts to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In addition to Rasul Jafarov, imprisoned political activist in Azerbaijan, Anar Mammaldi, has been shortlisted for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014.