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.


5 Countries Where Your Online Comments Could Land You in Jail

free jabbar savalan facebook page

When you log onto Facebook, you might expect to hear from long-lost friends or to see pictures from the latest family reunion. Maybe you follow Amnesty on Facebook or Twitter, read and comment on this blog, or keep a blog yourself.

But when you log off at the end of the day, you probably don’t expect the police to come knocking on your door. For people in some countries, that’s exactly what can happen. A 2011 study by Freedom House examining 37 countries found that 23 of them had arrested a blogger or internet user for their online posts. These encroachments on internet freedom – regardless of laws – come at a time of explosive growth in the number of internet users worldwide. Governments are clearly terrified because they know that information is power.


Tweet to Free Jabbar Savalan

Remember how everyone sent birthday cards to prisoner of conscience Jabbar Savalan when he turned 20 in September? We’ve continued campaigning for his release, and the cards were intended to remind him that although he is in prison serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on trumped-up charges to punish him for his peaceful anti-government activities (using Facebook to call for protests against the Azerbaijani government), he is not alone.

Well, tomorrow (October 18th) Azerbaijan celebrates its own 20th birthday, of independence from the former Soviet Union, so we’re stepping up with a new action to remind the authorities they can’t suppress peaceful protest through bogus charges and jail sentences. We know from our Twitter action for Eynulla Fatullayev that we can have an impact in Azerbaijan and our messages will be read.

So today we’re starting a global twitter action with several other Amnesty sections calling for Jabbar Savalan’s release. Send a message to the President of Azerbaijan – @presidentaz on Twitter. Here are some sample messages for you to use:

 I’m calling on @presidentaz to release #Jabbar Savalan, locked up in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

@presidentaz, Please release 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, arrested for using #facebook to call for peaceful protest in #Azerbaijan!

Then please send this tweet to share our twitter action with your contacts:

Join @amnesty in calling for the release of 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, jailed in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

Don’t have a Twitter account? Why not join Twitter and give our action a try? You’ll also find it’s a great way to keep up-to-date with our campaign work!

Alternatively, you could share the message above on President Aliyev’s public Facebook page. Copy the text from the sample tweets above and add it as a comment to his latest update.

For more detail on Jabbar’s case, and to keep up to date with new actions in the campaign for his freedom, visit www.amnestyusa.org/freejabbar or join the Free Jabbar Savalan page on Facebook.

Student Activist Spends Birthday Behind Bars in Azerbaijan

Jabbar Savalan

Jabbar Savalan behind bars after making a comment critical of the government on Facebook

Back in February, we told you about 19-year-old Jabbar Savalan, a student activist from Azerbaijan who had been arrested after he posted on Facebook calling for protests against the government.

In May, Jabbar Savalan was convicted on bogus charges and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

This Sunday, September 4th 2011 Jabbar will turn 20 years old in prison. On his birthday we want Jabbar to know that he has the support of people all over the world.

Send him birthday cards showing your solidarity or post a birthday greeting on our Facebook page that we’ll deliver to Jabbar.  Let Jabbar know that he’s not alone and that we’re taking action to ensure he won’t have to spend another birthday behind bars.

You can also send a message to the President of Azerbaijan urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Jabbar from prison.

Join the “Free Jabbar Savalan” Facebook page