Novruzali Mammadov (Mart 10, 1942 - August 17, 2009) was a Talysh national minority activist in Azerbaijan, PhD in Philology, editor of the now-defunct newspaper "Talyshi Sado” ("Voice of the Talysh”), recognized as a political prisoner by international organizations, being held in violation of his rights to freedom of expression and association Mammadov also worked at the Institute of Linguistics of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and headed a Talysh cultural center, closed after his imprisonment.
On February 2, 2007, Mr. Novruzali Mammadov was called to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he was kept for several days without explanations, underwent beatings and was interrogated because he took part in a scientific conference in Iran in 2004. After a short release, he was detained at the Investigation Isolation Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he allegedly underwent physical and psychological pressure for 15 days with the aim to force him to confess the acts of "espionage” for Iran.
On February 17, 2007, he was accused of high treason for espionage under Article 274 of the Criminal Code and he was arbitrarily detained.
On June 24, 2008, the Grave Crime Court sentenced him to ten years in prison, arguing that Mr. Mammadov had collected "information necessary for the establishment of an administrative autonomy in the territories of Azerbaijan compactly populated by Talysh people”, and had spread a negative image of Azerbaijan abroad through appeals submitted to international organisations relating to "violations of the human rights of the Talysh people”.
During the trial, Mr. Mammadov pleaded not guilty, and informed the members of the Court of the physical and psychological torture he had been subjected to while in detention. However, these allegations of torture were all rejected by the Court. The verdict was reportedly announced in an empty room in the absence of Mr. Mammadov’s attorney, after a closed trial. It is believed that he was falsely accused and sentenced because of his activity for the protection of the rights of the Talysh ethnic minority.
On December 26, 2008, the Baku Appeal Court confirmed the sentence of Mr. Novruzali Mammadov to ten years in prison for "high treason” and "inciting national, racial, and religious hatred”.
On January 14, 2009, Mr. Novruzali Mammedov was transferred from the Pre-Trial Detention Centre No 1 of Bailov to the Strict Regime Colony No 15, subsequent to the confirmation in appeal of his sentence. He was then immediately placed in a punishment cell for 15 days for "breach of order”, being deprived of bed and warm clothes.
On May 27, 2009, the cassation complaint of Mr. Novruzali Mammadov against the December 26, 2008 decision of the Baku Appeal Chamber was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Mammadov’s lawyer appealed this ruling to the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR).
Further, on June 10, 2009, the Supreme Court, chaired by Judge Gahraman Allahverdiyev, rejected another complaint filed by Mr. Mammadov’s lawyer on the destruction by the National Security Ministry of Mr. Mammadov’s unpublished scientific works on Talysh language and linguistics that were on his computer hard drive (about 4,000 pages), following the seizure without mandate of his computer on February 16, 2007. His lawyer also intends to appeal such ruling before the ECtHR.
On June 22, 2009, Mr. Novruzali Mammadov's wife, Ms. Maryam Mammadova and his son Mr. Emil Mammadov visited him in high security colony No 15. They reported that his health had seriously deteriorated and that he had to undergo three major chirurgical interventions.
On July 28, Mr. Mammadov was transferred from the Strict Regime Colony N° 15 to the Neurology Department of the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Services Central Hospital. Yet, his health continued to deteriorate. Sanitary conditions would have been very bad and Mr. Mammadov would not have been given any treatment or pain relief by hospital staff. Mr. Mammadov complained to representatives of the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan about his conditions and the lack of medical treatment.
In early August, Ms. Veronika Kotek, Council of Europe’s Special Representative in Azerbaijan, had visited Mr. Novruzali Mammadov in the hospital. She had a conversation with the hospital administration and physicians, who said that Mr. Mammadov’s health condition was of medium severity, and the hospital’s administration rejected Ms. Kotek’s proposal to invite European doctors to examine Mr. Mammadov.
On August 17, 2009, Mr. Novruzali Mammadov died.
In the period of Mammadov's consequence his sons Emil and Kyamran were repeatedly abducted for short times, physical and moral pressure was used against them. On September 8, 2007 Kyamran Mammadov died of a heart attack. Mammadov's other son, Emil, had been charged with storage and use of drugs. A court ordered his release from prison in 2008, finding the charges against him unproven.