Jabbar Savalan Freed!

“We will not be scared off by imprisonment or punishment. They may arrest us, but they can’t break us. Freedom of speech is our right, as it is the right of everyone. We will continue our struggle.” – Jabbar Savalan

Jabbar Savalan, an Azerbaijani student who spent almost 11 months in prison for a Facebook post, has been released!  He was freed after receiving a presidential pardon on December 26th.

Obviously the release of a prisoner of conscience is always a cause for celebration. We are delighted for Jabbar and his family. It is important now that his conviction is quashed and his reputation restored.

His case was part of Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon, during which hundreds of thousands of people in over 80 countries come together and take action to demand that peoples’ rights are respected. Over one million appeals were made as part of the 2011 marathon prior to Jabbar Savalan’s release.

Also, thanks to our Facebook followers and blog readers spreading the word about our “Dislike Injustice” petition, we were able to collect and deliver over 38,000 petition signatures to the Azerbaijani authorities in New York earlier this month. You can see photos of the petition delivery on Facebook.

After his release, Jabbar told us on Monday night:

“It feels good to be with my friends again. I feel good now that I can spend time with them and my family.  Amnesty International is a symbol of human rights and freedom, not just in Azerbaijan, but everywhere in the world. I am grateful for all the hard work done by your organization and other organizations which fight for freedom in Azerbaijan.”

Jabbar Savalan was arrested and accused of drugs possession on February 5th, a day after he posted on Facebook calling for Egypt-inspired protests against the government. He was convicted despite a blood test showing that he had not used drugs, largely on the basis of a confession extracted under duress while he was denied access to a lawyer.

In March and April, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to protest against government corruption and to call for fair elections and respect for human rights. Amnesty International’s recent report, Azerbaijan: The Spring that Never Blossomed, documents how hundreds of protestors were arrested and 16 of the alleged organizers were sentenced to long prison terms in unfair trials.

We warmly welcome Jabbar’s release as a first step – but there are still 16 more prisoners of conscience dating from the spring protests languishing in jail. Their release is imperative for the cause of justice in Azerbaijan.

In May 2012 the international spotlight will fall on Azerbaijan as it hosts the 2012 Eurovision song contest. Azerbaijani activists are using this opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the authorities’ human rights abuses.

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68 thoughts on “Jabbar Savalan Freed!

  1. Great news for all of us who stand for justice and freedom of speech!
    Greetings from Switzerland

  2. Thank you guys, best wishes from Azerbaijan. You are so great. We are strong together…

  3. Great news for all of us who stand for justice and freedom of speech!
    Greetings from Switzerland

  4. Thanks to Amnesty International for all the work put towards demanding Jabbar Savalan's release,

  5. Thanks to Amnesty International and support of the people the around the world for the the release Jabbar Savalan a prisoner of conscience. I celebrate your release and your freedom. God Bless you Jabbar!

  6. "LIKE" – a huge win for humanity of the power of social networking. It shows that Facebook can be used for more than inconsequential hourly status updates and hours of time on Words with Friends. Power to the people!

  7. Thanks to Amnesty International for all the work put towards demanding Jabbar Savalan’s release,

  8. Thanks to Amnesty International and support of the people the around the world for the the release Jabbar Savalan a prisoner of conscience. I celebrate your release and your freedom. God Bless you Jabbar!

  9. “LIKE” – a huge win for humanity of the power of social networking. It shows that Facebook can be used for more than inconsequential hourly status updates and hours of time on Words with Friends. Power to the people!

  10. " i pledge undying hostility to any government restriction on the free minds of the people "
    Thomas Jefferson

    way to go brotha!
    GREETING FROM BEIRUT, LEBANON!

  11. ” i pledge undying hostility to any government restriction on the free minds of the people ”
    Thomas Jefferson

    way to go brotha!
    GREETING FROM BEIRUT, LEBANON!

  12. welcome this news! in the hope that they will respect the rights of everyone in the world

  13. welcome this news! in the hope that they will respect the rights of everyone in the world

  14. To whomever,

    Great work and great news. I love it. Was at the write-a-thon and am delighted to see this result. Onward and upward in 2012.

    Namaste,
    Percy

  15. To whomever,

    Great work and great news. I love it. Was at the write-a-thon and am delighted to see this result. Onward and upward in 2012.

    Namaste,
    Percy

  16. Jabbar and Author,

    I love reading about stuff like this! It is great to hear that there are millions of people are still fighting for rights across the globe, especially as it pertains to freedom of speech. I am a U.S. citizen and it disgusts me to know that people all over the world cannot speak their mind and, like Jabbar, have to suffer. But, as we all face in varying situations, suffering is for a reason. I support you Jabbar! Keep going!

    It's sad to see as well, that the U.S. govt (even though it claims otherwise) slowly takes away our right to freedom of speech, right to bear arms, etc. It's disgusting. We all need to be strong and keep fighting for our rights!

    SallyJean

  17. Jabbar and Author,

    I love reading about stuff like this! It is great to hear that there are millions of people are still fighting for rights across the globe, especially as it pertains to freedom of speech. I am a U.S. citizen and it disgusts me to know that people all over the world cannot speak their mind and, like Jabbar, have to suffer. But, as we all face in varying situations, suffering is for a reason. I support you Jabbar! Keep going!

    It’s sad to see as well, that the U.S. govt (even though it claims otherwise) slowly takes away our right to freedom of speech, right to bear arms, etc. It’s disgusting. We all need to be strong and keep fighting for our rights!

    SallyJean

  18. Es lamentable que por un comentario en facebook, acabes 11 meses en la carcel, las sociedades donde esta restrigida o prohibida la libre expresión de la ídeas, son sociedades tristes y que se empobrecen al limitar o suprimir el correr de las ideas libremente y el debate y enrrequecimiento que con lleva.
    Es lamentable que se este dando un importante retroceso en el mundo con lo que respecta a la libertad de expresión y opinión. Los EE.UU. que se denominan asismismo como lideres de la libertad dierón hace apenas 2 días un paso atras importantisimo con la firma por Obama de la ley que permite la detención militar sin ningún tipo de garantias.

  19. Thank you, Jabbar, for your courage, spirit, and faith; and thank you, Amnesty, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this human rights victory. I participated in the Write for Rights campaign, and Jabbar's release renews my hope that together, we can build a better world.

  20. Es lamentable que por un comentario en facebook, acabes 11 meses en la carcel, las sociedades donde esta restrigida o prohibida la libre expresión de la ídeas, son sociedades tristes y que se empobrecen al limitar o suprimir el correr de las ideas libremente y el debate y enrrequecimiento que con lleva.
    Es lamentable que se este dando un importante retroceso en el mundo con lo que respecta a la libertad de expresión y opinión. Los EE.UU. que se denominan asismismo como lideres de la libertad dierón hace apenas 2 días un paso atras importantisimo con la firma por Obama de la ley que permite la detención militar sin ningún tipo de garantias.

  21. Thank you, Jabbar, for your courage, spirit, and faith; and thank you, Amnesty, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this human rights victory. I participated in the Write for Rights campaign, and Jabbar’s release renews my hope that together, we can build a better world.

  22. We at the Secular Humanist League of Brazil are very glad Jabbar has been released, what makes us proud to have helped for the first time in the Writeathon, and eager to participate many more times in the future.

  23. Fantastisch nieuws; de jongerengroep 3822 van Amnesty International Flemish section schreef mee voor Jabbar's vrijlating !!! Courage Jabbar so that you can pick up your "normal" student life again :)

  24. We at the Secular Humanist League of Brazil are very glad Jabbar has been released, what makes us proud to have helped for the first time in the Writeathon, and eager to participate many more times in the future.

  25. Fantastisch nieuws; de jongerengroep 3822 van Amnesty International Flemish section schreef mee voor Jabbar’s vrijlating !!! Courage Jabbar so that you can pick up your “normal” student life again :)

  26. God bless you Jabbar you are a brave young man and you are not alone- although I imagine you must have felt very lonely and forgotten at times. I am so happy to hear you are free and I hope and pray you will enjoy your freedom. Never give up. May blessings be upon you.

  27. God bless you Jabbar you are a brave young man and you are not alone- although I imagine you must have felt very lonely and forgotten at times. I am so happy to hear you are free and I hope and pray you will enjoy your freedom. Never give up. May blessings be upon you.

  28. Wow – even in this crazy, messed-up world the good guys still win. Congratulations, Jabbar, and well done, Amnesty.

  29. Wow – even in this crazy, messed-up world the good guys still win. Congratulations, Jabbar, and well done, Amnesty.

  30. May you be free for the rest of your life!
    And may we rebuild our world day-by-day
    as we work for justice!

    Sending hope for peace, from the States

  31. May you be free for the rest of your life!
    And may we rebuild our world day-by-day
    as we work for justice!

    Sending hope for peace, from the States

  32. Your action inspired all of us to keep on fighting for establishing human rights in the whole world
    greetings from Greece

  33. Your action inspired all of us to keep on fighting for establishing human rights in the whole world
    greetings from Greece

  34. Jabbar,

    The many people of Southern Oregon who wrote to you and on your behalf are very happy for you. May you feel the warmth of you family and friends each day.

    May everyone enjoy the protection of their human rights,
    - Southern Oregon Amnesty Chapter

  35. Jabbar,

    The many people of Southern Oregon who wrote to you and on your behalf are very happy for you. May you feel the warmth of you family and friends each day.

    May everyone enjoy the protection of their human rights,
    - Southern Oregon Amnesty Chapter

  36. greetings from the UK! so glad he has been freed – keep up the good work amnesty international.

  37. greetings from the UK! so glad he has been freed – keep up the good work amnesty international.

  38. مبروك الافراج ودائما اعضاء منظمة العفو الدولية يساندون حقوق الانسان فى كل انحاء العالم
    تهنئة لكل المشتركين فى هذة الحملة والى الامام

  39. مبروك الافراج ودائما اعضاء منظمة العفو الدولية يساندون حقوق الانسان فى كل انحاء العالم
    تهنئة لكل المشتركين فى هذة الحملة والى الامام

  40. Keep up d spirit broda.. Greetings from Nigeria we r so happy to hear about his freedom news

  41. Keep up d spirit broda.. Greetings from Nigeria we r so happy to hear about his freedom news