Azeri first lady inspires new law on mass prisoner release
BAKU - Agence France-Presse
Azeri first lady Aliyeva (L) is seen with Turkish first lady.The Azerbaijani Parliament approved yesterday a prisoner amnesty proposed by the country’s glamorous and powerful first lady that will likely see thousands of convicts released.
The move, put forward by Mehriban Aliyeva, the influential wife of strongman President Ilham Aliyev, should see some 2,000 prisoners, mainly women, disabled and elderly convicts, released and 7,000 more have their sentences cut, according to the new law. “I believe that being able to forgive, with goodwill and humanity, can change a lot in this world for the better,” Aliyeva, who is a member of Parliament, told the largely rubber-stamp legislative body before it approved the act without a debate.
Aliyeva’s husband Ilham has faced sustained criticism for the country’s allegedly poor human rights record. The amnesty act is intended to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the birth of Aliyeva’s deceased father-in-law, former president Heydar. It is expected to come into effect today.