A court in Azerbaijan has rejected an appeal by a respected lawyer and rights activist imprisoned mid last year on charges he has denied as politically motivated.
Anti-corruption campaigner and human rights defender Intigam Aliyev’s attorney Javad Javadov said that Azerbaijan’s Court of Appeals in the capital, Baku, denied the appeal, on Tuesday.
"The criminal case against my client has been falsified," Javadov said, adding that Aliyev’s prosecution was "politically motivated."
Aliyev, 52, said he did not expect a fair trial as "even the minimum standards of a fair trial are not respected in Azerbaijan."
The lawyer, who specializes in political rights and freedoms, was arrested and imprisoned in pretrial detention mid 2014. He was later charged with tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, appropriation, and abuse in office.
He received a jail sentence of seven and a half years in April.
Aliyev, who also heads the Legal Education Society group, has won 40 of the hundreds of cases and victims he has represented and filed before the European Court of Human Rights over the past two decades.
The activist has also focused on alleged fraud during parliamentary elections in the tightly-controlled southern Caucasus in 2005 and 2010. President Ilham Aliyev's ruling New Azerbaijan Party won both votes.
The European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council of Europe have called on Baku to immediately release Intigam Aliyev.
Amnesty International has also called him a "prisoner of conscience."
In 2013, Aliyev received the annual Homo Homini prize from the Czech right organization, People in Need, for his "personal courage and exceptional commitment to defending persecuted individuals."
Earlier this year, leading human rights defender and government critic Rasul Jafarov was also sentenced to six and a half years in prison after being charged with tax evasion, abuse of power, illegal business activities, and embezzlement.