No free speech for ethnic minority

My husband was imprisoned in February 2007. Two weeks later, they stormed into our house at midnight to scare us and told us that he had betrayed his nation.

This is how Maryam Mammadova remembers what happened to her late husband, Professor Novruzali Mammadov.

Novruzali Mammadov was arrested by the now defunct National Security Ministry on 2 February 2007. He died in suspicious circumstances on 17 August 2009 in a Baku prison. At the time of his arrest, he was the head of the scientific-educational sector of the Romance and Germanic Linguistics Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the editor-in-chief of the “Tolyshi Sado” newspaper, and the deputy chairman of the Talysh Cultural Center. Many, including his wife, believe that he was imprisoned and killed for promoting Talysh culture and especially because of his activities connected with “Tolyshi Sado.”

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Azerbaijan: A River Of Illegal Drugs Runs Through It

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

For 77-year-old Safura Ahmedova, living in Azerbaijan along one of the globe’s most notorious drug-trade routes has come at immense cost: two sons and a husband dead, and another son in prison.

“My elder son was married and had a good job. He later became a drug addict,” Ahmedova tells RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. “We struggled to cure him, but it didn’t help. He shot up, poisoning his body, and died. He left behind two children.”

But the drugs that have overrun Ahmedova’s home district of Astara, which borders Iran and the Caspian Sea and makes up Azerbaijan’s southernmost corner, were not done destroying her life and family.

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«Others will continue this fight»

One year after the arrest of Afgan Mukhtarli

“Mum, you said that daddy went very far away. We have also gone very far away now. Why can’t we see him now? I want to see my daddy!”

These are the words of Afgan Mukhtarli’s 4-year old daughter Nuray. She and her mother are currently living in Germany. Until Mukhtarli’s abduction last year, the family had been residing in Georgia.

One year ago, on 29 May 2017, the investigative journalist disappeared from the streets of Tbilisi and resurfaced the next day in custody in Azerbaijan. A statement issued by authorities said a criminal case would be launched against him because he had illegally crossed the border, assaulted a border official and smuggled 10,000 euro into the country.

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The things that happened to the media in 2017

January

On 9 January, officers from police station No 22 of the Nasimi district police department detained videoblogger Mehman Huseynov. On 10 January, he was brought before court and fined 200 manats after being found guilty of disobeying police.

He told reporters he was tortured while in custody.

M. Musayev, the chief of the Nasimi district police department, said that this statement by Huseynov libeled the police, and filed a special lawsuit. Following the lawsuit, the Surakhani district court sentenced Mehman Huseynov to two years in prison on 3 March.

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Azerbaijani court upholds blocking of independent news websites

On 19 December, the Baku Court of Appeal upheld a ruling to block access to a number of independent news websites in Azerbaijan. The failed appeal had been brought by Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service, Azadlig (“Liberty”), and the unrelated Azadlig newspaper.

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Afgan Mukhtarli: I was arrested on orders from Ilham Aliyev

On 14 December, the trial of journalist Afgan Mukhtarli continued at the Balakan District Court. In May this year, Mukhtarli had mysteriously disappeared from Georgia, where he was living, and later resurfaced in Baku – under arrest. The journalist says he was abducted, tortured, and forcefully brought to Azerbaijan, with 10,000 Euro planted in his pockets.

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“They demanded that I say that I was an Armenian spy”

Journalist Ilgar Valiyev, who currently lives outside Azerbaijan, says that he was tortured military servicemen.

The journalist says that the incident took place in March 2017. In a statement released on 4 October, Valiyev calls on the relevant agencies to conduct an investigation. Elchin Sadigov, the journalist’s defense lawyer, has circulated the full text of the statement.

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Azerbaijan Laundromat: Merkel ally ‘received cash from regime’

Merkel ally ‘received cash from regime’

This article was published by the Guardian

Revelations over payments by Azerbaijan to European politicians have seeped into the German election as it emerged that a close ally of Angela Merkel allegedly received money from the authoritarian regime.

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Afgan Mukhtarli makes appeal to international organizations

Imprisoned investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli has been questioned with respect to criminal proceedings launched against Gozal Bayramli, deputy chair of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP).

Mukhtarli wrote about this in a letter he sent to Bastainfo. He said that during the questioning he was asked about Dashgin Aghalarli, who currently resides in Georgia, and Farman Jeyranli, the founder of the clinic Lancet, who is in jail in Georgia.

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