The case against Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli, who previously faced charges of ‘hooliganism’ after being detained at Baku Haydar Aliyev International Airport on 30 March 2016, has expanded to include charges of ‘resisting the authorities with violence’. Under Article 315.1 of the criminal code, this is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The move came following an open letter Aylisli sent to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. In it, he points to the absurdity of the claim that a “78-year-old heart patient, a weak man” could assault a 35-year-old “stocky athlete”.
The writer asked the president to intervene and remove the criminal case against him.
“Following [the letter], against all my expectations, my situation rapidly got worse,” Aylisli told Index on Censorship, referring to the new charges. “Also, a new vicious, libellous public campaign against me started in media,” he added.
In March 2016, Aylisli was detained for 12 hours at the airport when he was due to participate in an Italian literary festival. He was accused of assaulting border guards and his travel documents were confiscated.
“Absurdly and illogically, this alleged incident of punching a border guard happened well after the plane departed and was later used by the border service as an explanation for denying the border crossing before the plane had left,” he told Index on Censorship.
» Index on Censorship – 22 April 2016:
Azerbaijan: Akram Aylisli faces further charges after sending letter to president
» Index on Censorship – 4 April 2016:
Azeri writer Akram Aylisli releases speech he was due to give at Italian festival
» The Guardian – 4 April 2016:
Author Akram Aylisli responds to ‘hooliganism’ charge after airport detention
» Artsfreedom.org – 31 March 2016:
Azerbaijan: Writer detained at airport
» Artsfreedom.org – 18 February 2013:
Azerbaijan: Writer Akram Aylisli under threat
» Wikipedia, the open encyclopedia: