President Aliyev: Dismiss Wrongful Charges Against Writer Akram Aylisli
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Dear President Aliyev,
I urge you to immediately dismiss all wrongful charges brought against the writer Akram Aylisli. Strong leaders and proud nations should honor brave individuals, not burn their work and silence their voices.
Президенту Ильхаму Алиеву,
Прошу Вас немедленно отозвать все обвинения, выдвинутые против писателя Акрама Айлисли. Надеюсь, что как сильный лидер, Вы проявите должную заботу о великом азербайджанском народе, не лишая Айлисли голоса и сжигая его книги.
Yazıçı Əkrəm Əylisliyə qarşı bütün əsassız ittihamlara təcili surətdə son qoyulmasının vacib olduğunu təkidlə nəzərinizə çatdırıram. Güclü liderlər və məğrur millətlər cəsarətli insanların qədrini bilməli, bеlə insanların kitablarının yandırılmasına, onların susdurulmasına yol vеrməməlidir.
About Akram Aylisli:
Akram Aylisli was a popular writer in Azerbaijan up until the publication of his novel Stone Dreams, which tackled the issue of Azeri-Armenian relations and included depictions of pogroms allegedly carried out by Azeris against Armenians in 1990. He had previously been awarded the official title of People’s Writer, as well as two of the highest state awards in Azerbaijan, the Shokrat and Istiglal medals. After the 2013 publication, he was stripped of his titles and medals and the President signed a decree stripping him of his presidential pension; his books were also burnt, and a politician from a pro-government party reportedly offered a US$13,000 reward to anyone who cut off one of his ears. His wife and son were both dismissed from their jobs. He was branded an apostate, expelled from the Union of Azerbaijani Writers while people organised rallies against him. His books were withdrawn from school curriculum and his plays were banned. At the same time, members of the Azeri parliament discussed whether he should be expelled from Azerbaijan and his citizenship repealed, as well as whether he should undergo a DNA test to see if he is ethnically Armenian. (Source: The PEN International 2017 Case List, Page 86)
To learn more about Mr. Aylisli's case, please reference the following articles:
Akram Aylisli’s books being burned in Ganja, Azerbaijan:
- Azerbaijani Writer's Books Burned Over His Controversial Novel (Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)
Background information about Akram Aylisli:
Akram Aylisli's Wikipedia Page (Source: Wikipedia.org)
"The pen or the axe, or why should being the nation’s conscience make you an enemy of the people? An interview with Akram Aylisli" by Shura Burtin (Source: Caucasus Survey, Routledge)
Nobel Peace Prize nomination letter for Akram Aylisli:
Selected news coverage of Akram Aylisli’s persecution:
"Azerbaijan turns on one of its own with bounty on pro-Armenian author" by Will Englund (Source: The Washington Post)
"Bring me the ear of Akram Aylisli! Politician offers £8,000 for attack on writer" by Shaun Walker (Source: Independent.co.uk)
"In Azerbaijan, Anger At An Author, But Not Necessarily At His Argument" by Daisy Sindelar (Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)
"Azerbaijan: Akram Aylisli faces further charges after sending letter to president" by Ryan McChrystal (Source: Index on Censorship)
- "Author Akram Aylisli responds to 'hooliganism' charge after airport detention" by Alison Flood (Source: The Guardian)
PEN International and Human Rights Watch on the Aylisli case:
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