Akram Aylisli was a popular writer in Azerbaijan up until the publication of his novel Stone Dreams, which caused uproar in his country, due to the writer’s sympathetic portrayal of Armenians. The 81-year-old writer had previously been awarded the official title of People’s Writer, as well as two of the highest state awards in Azerbaijan. After the 2013 publication of Stone Dreams, Aylisli was stripped of his titles and medals and the President signed a decree stripping him of his presidential pension; his books were also burnt, and a politician from a pro-government party reportedly offered a US $13K reward to anyone who cut off one of his ears. Aylisli’s wife and son were both dismissed from their jobs. He was branded an apostate, expelled from the Union of Azerbaijani Writers while people organized rallies against him.
He is currently facing up to three years in prison on trumped-up charges and for over 2.5 years he has awaited a trial, despite being in poor health and in need of medical care.
To learn more about Mr. Aylisli’s case, please reference the following articles: