BusinessDay

Aliyev got the IBA Human Rights Award recipient for 2015!

Intigam Aliyev, President of the Legal Education Society (LES), Azerbaijan, and a member of the Council of Europe’s Expert Council on non-governmental organisation (NGO) law, was named the winner of the 2015 International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Award during the IBA conference in Vienna.

The Award, granted to him in honour of his dedicated fight to uphold human rights and the rule of law in Azerbaijan, was presented by IBA President, David W Rivkin, on the final day of the 2015 IBA Annual Conference, in Vienna Austria.

A political prisoner in Azerbaijan, Mr Aliyev was unable to collect the Award in person. His son and daughter travelled to Vienna and collected the Award, on Friday 9 October, on his behalf during the IBA’s Rule of Law Symposium., on Friday 9 October 2015 held on the last day of the IBA Annual Conference in Vienna, Austria.

In a letter read by his son Necmin Kamilsoy, Mr Aliyev said, ‘When I heard about this prestigious Award, I felt honour and happiness with sadness at the same time. Today, in my country, my friends, colleagues, conscientious people, are facing prosecutions, pressures, and imprisonments. They deserve this award at least as much as I do. Therefore, I am accepting this award on behalf of them. I share my deep gratitude with the IBA for appreciating my efforts in such a way, as well as with all organisations that nominated me for this award.’

Upon presenting the award IBA President, David W. Rivkin said, ‘Mr Aliyev is a courageous and dedicated human rights activist. His case serves as a stark reminder that for individuals across the world, being a lawyer is fraught with challenges and danger. Lawyers play a vital role in promoting justice, human rights and upholding the rule of law, both at home and abroad. Mr Aliyev’s determination and resilience should be an inspiration to all IBA members.’

Mr Aliyev is an award-winning human rights activist working to defend the rule of law in Azerbaijan. He has represented more than 100 victims of alleged human rights breaches before the European Court of Human Rights. As the head of the Legal Education Society, he provides legal support to NGOs, Azerbaijani civil society organisations and low-income individuals. On 22 April 2015, he was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment and a three-year ban from holding public office leadership positions by the Baku Grave Crimes Court on charges of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, abuse of authority, services forgery and misappropriation.

The IBA Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights, sponsored by LexisNexis, recognises personal endeavour in the field of law and is awarded annually.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has previously called on the Azerbaijani government to review the sentencing of Intigam Aliyev, stating that his proceeding had not adhered to fair trial standards and had been the latest in a number politically motivated prosecutions against civil society and human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.