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Prague event criticises Azeri persecution at European Games start

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Prague, June 12 (CTK) – The People in Need humanitarian organisation staged an event in Prague’s centre protesting against the violation of human rights in Azerbaijan, in whose capital city the 1st European Games started Friday.

The European Games in Baku are organised by the international Olympic committee and they should therefore follow the Olympic charter, but we believe that the games do not observe the charter, said Ivana Skalova, from People in Need.

Human rights have been violated in Azerbaijan for a long time and people have been imprisoned for their criticism of the authoritarian regime of President Ilham Aliyev, Skalova said.

She said there are about 90 political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

The European Games are held from June 12 to June 28.

Skalova recalled the case of lawyer Intigam Aliyev who was arrested because he helped people persecuted by the Azeri authorities. Intigam Aliyev was recently sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in a show trial and he has been denied adequate medical treatment despite his bad health, she said.

People in Need mentioned the cases of activist Rasul Jafarov, sent to 6.5 years in prison in April, human rights advocate Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus, and journalist Khadija Ismail.

Czech Chamber of Deputies speaker Jan Hamacek said Czech President Milos Zeman wants the friendly relations with Azerbaijan to be further developed. Hamacek is taking part in the opening of the European Games in Baku.

Both Zeman and President Aliyev expressed satisfaction with the Azeri-Czech relations and said they wanted to develop them.

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