The Penitentiary Service’s statement raised suspicions.
The Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice has released information about historian Fakhraddin Abbasov, who died in Gobustan prison on 9 November. The Penitentiary Service said: “During his recent imprisonment, Abbasov reacted angrily to the successful counter-offensive operations of our army and the liberation of our lands. He was deeply shocked by the liberation of Shusha and committed suicide.”
However, there are those who are skeptical about this news.
Lawyer Ruslan Aliyev says that the official information shared is not detailed and creates a negative impression about the deceased:
“From the moment a person comes under the control of the state, the state is responsible for their life. In the current situation, it is necessary to present the facts. According to the Penitentiary Service, Abbasov was outraged by the success of the Azerbaijani army. The success of the Azerbaijani army began on 27 September. 42 days have passed since the death of the deceased. The leadership knew Abbasov’s opinion and could take preventive measures during these 42 days. Also, whose opinion was that he was psychologically traumatized? How is it measured? During this period, strict controls should have been exercised about sharp objects. On the other hand, Abbasov had previously told his relatives that he could be killed. This news was also widespread. This shows that despite the risk of both murder and suicide, the prison administration was indifferent to these cases.
Hilal Mammadov, co-founder of the Public Council of the Talysh of Azerbaijan, said that the information disseminated by the Penitentiary Service does not meet legal or ethical criteria.
“This information creates criminal liability for those who spread it,” he said. “I believe that a fair investigation will be conducted. The authors of such false, illogical, unethical statements and the perpetrators of Abbasov’s murder will be brought to justice. If Abbasov really had a deep psychological shock, he should have been hospitalized and been put under special supervision. But none of this has been done. Therefore, this official statement has no basis.”
“It is clear from the statement of the Penitentiary Service that they saw Abbasov committing suicide and did not interfere. They waited for a person to commit suicide, and then said that it was not ours,” said Rahim Shaliyev, a Talysh activist and journalist. He also said that in the past, pro-government media outlets such as Real TV and Yeni Musavat had tried to create a negative public image of the deceased.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the articles in “Yeni Musavat” and the text of the statement of the Penitentiary Service are so similar that it is as if they were written by the same person. In addition, the statement of the Penitentiary Service contained words that would create a negative opinion against Abbasov, which is another case that casts doubt on the reliability of the investigation.
President of the Russian Talysh Federal Cultural Autonomy Ismail Shabanov drew attention to Abbasov’s religious beliefs:
“Abbasov was a religious, strong and religious man. In Islam, suicide is haram. For both this and other known reasons, I do not believe this nonsense. Abbasov was killed. “
According to official information, Fakhraddin Abbasov, born in 1956, was the parliamentary chairman of the separatist “Talysh Mugan Autonomous Republic” in 1993. He left Azerbaijan in 1994.
In 2014, he applied to the relevant Russian authorities for citizenship, but was unable to do so. Abbasov, who had lived in Russia for a long time, was deported in February 2019.
His lawyers in Russia said it was illegal and that Abbasov had been abducted.
He was charged with “public incitement against the state, incitement to national and racial hatred and enmity, and humiliation of national dignity” of the Criminal Code.
On 14 July 2019, Fakhraddin Abbasov was arrested by the decision of the Sabail District Court.
Amnesty International has recognized Abbasov as a political prisoner and considered his arrest illegal. They called for his immediate release.
Until 1994, Abbasov worked as a teacher at Baku State University. He is considered the author of the first textbook on Political Science in Azerbaijan. He has published several books on the grammar and vocabulary of the Talysh language. He is the author of more than 200 scientific, political and philosophical articles.
Earlier, in 2009, another Talysh academician, Novruzali Mammadov, mysteriously died in custody. The European Court of Human Rights fined the Azerbaijani government for Mammadov’s death on 21 February 2019.