«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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Azerbaijan again deported citizen of Russia because of armenian last name.

Azerbaijan denied entry for Russian citizen with armenian last name. 81 years old Olga Barsegyan was born in Leningrad, survived the blockade and is a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, was deported from International airport of Baku. Of course the reason for deportation does not state it was the armenian origin. You can check official scan of deportation document – “other reasons“. That what they call it!

Officially Baku does not confirm the undesirability of entry to the territory of Azerbaijan to persons of Armenian origin, but such practice exists. And this was not the first time and I think not the last.

In 2013, a Russian journalist, Anna Sahakyan was not allowed to enter Azerbaijan, later being even declared a persona non grata for her Armenian family name.

In May 2016, an 8-year-old child with an Armenian surname was denied entry to Azerbaijan at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev international airport.

A Russian citizen, M. V. Uyeldanov (Galustyan) was detained in Azerbaijan over his Armenian origin in July 2016.

An Estonian citizen of Armenian origin was held at the airport in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku for 12 hours and sent back to Estonia in late March.

The border service and Azerbaijani carriers, as a rule, explain the deportation or refusal to admit safety considerations to the board.

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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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“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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Criminal Investigation against Turan Politically Motivated – Human Rights Activist

Baku / 12.08.17 / Turan: The Monitoring Center for Political Prisoners strongly condemned the criminal investigation against the Turan News Agency on charges of tax evasion.

The human rights organization regards this as a prejudiced and politically motivated step.

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How political prisoners are tortured in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani political prisoner Abbas Huseynov has been tortured in a prison (popularly known as the Gobustan prison), in which he is held and which belongs to the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service. Abbas Huseynov is a deputy to the leader of the Muslim Unity movement, Taleh Baghirzadeh. The torture was carried out by the prison governor, a deputy prison chief and several guards, Huseynov told his defence lawyer Yalchin Imanov. The lawyer told us about what happened in the notorious high-security prison for especially dangerous criminals, which is located 70 kilometres outside Baku.

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Shrinking space for Azerbaijan’s last independent voices

On 8 August, Azerbaijani tax authorities launched an investigation of Turan News Agency. Local civil society activists and international human rights organizations believe this investigation is aimed at the termination of the activities of the last independent media outlet in the country. On 24 August Mehman Aliyev, the director of the news agency and a well-known journalist was sentenced to three months pretrial detention on charges of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power. As a result, Turan announced that it planned to suspend its operations as of September.

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Former political prisoners, journalists, human rights defenders condemn arrest of Mehman Aliyev

Statement of The Working Group on Unified List of Political Prisoners on the Detention of Mehman Aliyev and the Suspension of Turan News Agency’s Activities

The Working Group on Unified List of Political Prisoners is dismayed by the news of the detention of the director of Turan News Agency, Mehman Aliyev, and the suspension of the only remaining independent news media in Azerbaijan – Turan News Agency.

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