Letters from an Azerbaijan Jail | Institute for War and Peace Reporting


Letters from an Azerbaijan Jail

IWPR presents a series of letters written by political prisoners in Azerbaijan. More and more leading human rights defenders, opposition party members and independent journalists are being arrested, tried and jailed for a range of ostensibly non-political offences – a tactic which allows the authorities to insist both that there is no political motivation and that the individuals concerned are common criminals. Prosecutions are designed to discredit those accused personally and government critics more generally.

These letters will show that independent thinking carries on even when people are locked away, and to focus wider international attention on the state of civil and political liberties in Azerbaijan.


Zaur Qurbanli
27 Feb 15
Political prisoner tells the life story of a young cellmate who spent his teenage years living homeless on the streets of Baku.
Yadigar Sadiqov before his arrest. (Photo courtesy of Y. Sadiqov)
Yadigar Sadiqov
18 Feb 15
Defendants spend a lot of time shuttling between court hearings and detention centres.
Zaur Qurbanli
3 Feb 15
LGBT activist's suicide a year ago can be seen as an act of courage in a world of hypocrisy.
Seymur Hezi. (Photo:Fuad Hajiyev)
Seymur Hezi
21 Jan 15
Jailed reporter Seymur Hezi realises he is in the same Azerbaijani prison as top female journalist Khadija Ismayil.
Yadigar Sadiqov
13 Jan 15
Political prisoner deemed “workshy” as pretext for turning down his application for release.
Uzeyir Mammadli
22 Dec 14
Political prisoner meets an innocent abroad.
Yadigar Sadiqov
17 Dec 14
A political prisoner reflects on psychology and power relationships among his fellow inmates.
Yadigar Sadiqov
16 Dec 14
An Azerbaijani opposition figure reflects on the quality of state TV seen from inside a detention cell.