Some Azerbaijani activists claim that international rights watchdogs, such as Amnesty International, have created a two-tier system for political prisoners that effectively hinders less prominent government critics’ chances for release from prison.
“We see they are interested in the cases of star political prisoners,” commented attorney Yalchin Imanov, who represents jailed Azerbaijani Islamic Party Chairperson Movsum Samadov and opposition parliamentarian Asif Yusifli, among other imprisoned government critics.
“As a result,” he charged, “except for very few cases, the majority of illegal arrests, cases of unfairly punished people are overlooked; especially, opposition parties’ members and religious activists are being forgotten by international organizations.”
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Durna Safarova is a freelance journalist who covers Azerbaijan.