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Azerbaijani Rights Activist Reportedly Asks President For Pardon

Rasul Jafarov

Rasul Jafarov

Azerbaijani officials say Rasul Jafarov, a rights activist who is in pretrial detention, has asked President Ilham Aliyev for a pardon.

A copy of what the Penitentiary Service said was a letter from Jafarov asking Aliyev for a pardon was posted by the news agency APA on October 16.

Lawyers for Jafarov could not immediately be reached.

Jafarov was arrested in August and charged with treason, tax evasion, and illegal entrepreneurship.

He is one of several activists detained in Azerbaijan in recent months in what UN experts have called a "trend of repression."

On October 15, the chairperson of the Norway-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) expressed concern about crackdowns on rights activists in oil-producing Azerbaijan.

Clare Short said the situation is "clearly problematic."

On the same day, the U.S. State Department urged Azerbaijan to release those detained for exercising fundamental rights.

Based on reporting by the Azeri Press Agency, Interfax and EITI statement