Vidadi Isganderov, Azerbaijan
Vidadi Isganderov, a lawyer by training, is the head of Support for Protection of Democracy, a nongovernmental group in Azerbaijan that carries out a wide range of human rights work. He defended the rights of homeowners who had lost large sums of money to bogus construction companies and also to victims of alleged police extortion. In 2011, he was charged with (and found guilty of) interfering with the November 2010 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, and sentenced to three years in prison. His real crime was running as a candidate in those elections, and submitting a complaint to the police and prosecutor’s office alleging vote-rigging in his district. Though he provided credible evidence, including video footage, the authorities failed to investigate them. Instead, they brought charges against him.