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Human Rights Lawyer Aliyev Sentenced To Prison In Azerbaijan

BAKU -- A prominent human rights lawyer in Azerbaijan, Intiqam Aliyev, has been sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after a trial that he called politically motivated.

The Baku Court for Grave Crimes found Aliyev guilty of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and abuse of office on April 22 and sentenced him the same day.

In his last testimony before his sentence was pronounced, Aliyev called the case against him politically motivated, saying he was prosecuted as punsihment for bringing more than 200 cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Aliyev was arrested in August.

He is one of several activists, journalists, and government critics jailed over the past year in what rights groups say has been been a growing clampdown on dissent by authorities under President Ilham Aliyev. The two men are not related.

Last week, the same court sentenced human rights activist Rasul Cafarov (say: Jafarov) to 6 1/2 years in jail on similar charges.

Amnesty International has recognized Aliyev and Cafarov as prisoners of conscience.

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