EURASIA

Many countries in the region have been suppressing voices and movements that are critical of governments as they seek to demonstrate their success in economic development. Azerbaijan is one such country where the government has also restricted the work of all independent civil society organizations (CSOs). For the past decade, authorities have prosecuted hundreds of activists, journalists, and public figures on politically motivated charges, such as drug possession, tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and even treason. 

UPDATE: In May 2017, a group of local civil society organizations issued an updated report stating that there are currently more than 120 political prisoners in Azerbaijan, some of which are highlighted below. Please see full list here.

Afgan Mukhtarli

AZERBAIJAN

Kidnapped May 29, 2017

On May 29, 2017, he was kidnapped in Tbilisi and forcefully taken to Baku where he was put in prison. He is facing fabricated charges of smuggling, illegal border crossing, as well as violently resisting a law enforcement official. In January, 2018, Mukhtarli was sentenced to six years in prison by the Balakan District Court in Azerbaijan.

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Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained May 9, 2017
 UPDATE: In December 2017, Giyas Ibrahimov and his father were accused of contempt of court. As a result, Giyas’ imprisonment has been extended three more months while his father, Hasan Ibrahimov, has been sentenced to eighteen months of correctional labor with a 20-percent reduction of his salary. On May 9, 2017, the two students painted an anti-government message on the statue of Haydar Aliyev, the former President of Azerbaijan. The next day, both were kidnapped and taken to the police station where they were brutally tortured.

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Fuad Ahmadli

AZERBAIJAN

Detained August 18, 2016
 Shortly after he helped organize an opposition demonstration, he was arrested on August 18, 2016. He was charged with “abuse of power” and “conducting unauthorized operative-search.”  

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Khadija Ismailova

AZERBAIJAN

Detained December 5, 2014
 UPDATE: Released on May 25, 2016 on probation after the court reduced her sentence to 3.5 years suspended sentence.

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Rauf Mirkadirov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained April 19, 2014
 UPDATE: Released on March 17, 2016 after his sentence was commuted to a five-year suspended sentence.

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Arif Yunus

AZERBAIJAN

Detained August 5, 2014
  UPDATE: Arif Yunus and his wife Leyla Yunus were allowed to travel to the Netherlands on April 19, 2016 to receive medical care for their deteriorating health and to be reunited with their daughter.

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Gozal Bayramli

AZERBAIJAN

Detained May 25, 2017
 UPDATE: On January 23, Gozal Bayramli was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. She was detained on May, 25, 2017  by Azerbaijani authorities on the Georgia border while returning from Tbilisi, Georgia. She was then sentenced to pre-trial detention on charges that she smuggled €12,000 ($13,400) in cash. 

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Ilgar Mammadov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained February 6, 2013
  UPDATE: Mammadov currently suffers from an orthopedic joint disease, a condition that has dramatically worsened due to poor conditions in prison. Ilgar lost his petition to acquit with Court of Appeals in April 2016 and was stripped of his right to be elected in MP in May 2016.

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Tale Bagirzade

AZERBAIJAN

Detained November 16, 2015
  Tale has been an outspoken advocate of the peaceful Islamic movement and the rights of the religious community. On November 26, 2015, Tale and 14 fellow religious activists were arrested during a deadly police raid in the Nardaran district.

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Intigam Aliyev

AZERBAIJAN

Detained August 8, 2014
  UPDATE: Released from custody on March 28, 2016. Awarded "Civil Rights Defender of the Year" Award in April 2016. 

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Rasul Jafarov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained August 2, 2014
  Update: Rasul, along with 14 political prisoners was released on March 17, 2016 by a presidential pardon decree.

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Yadigar Sadiqov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained June 2013
  Update: Yadigar, along with 14 political prisoners was released on March 17, 2016 by a presidential pardon decree.

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Ilkin Rustamzade

AZERBAIJAN

Detained May 17, 2013
 Ilkin, together with several other youth activists, was imprisoned after the protests on May 17, 2013. He was charged with organizing mass disorder, hooliganism, and use of power against a state representative.    

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Mehman Huseynov

AZERBAIJAN

Detained March 3, 2017
 UPDATE: Mehman’s defense lawyer requested to present witnesses to the court of appeals who would testify that Mehman had been beaten and tortured in prison. The court failed to appropriately investigate this issue and in December 2017, Mehman’s appeal was dismissed and his two-year sentence was upheld. On March 3, 2017, a Baku court sentenced Azerbaijani human rights activist Mehman Huseynov to two years in prison on “defamation” charges.  

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Seymur Hazi (Haziyev)

AZERBAIJAN

Detained August 29, 2014
 UPDATE: Awarded the Fritt Ord Foundation and the ZEIT-Stiftung Free Media Prizes for Independent Journalism in Eastern Europe in 2016. 

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Anar Mammadli

AZERBAIJAN

Detained December 16, 2013
 Update: Anar, along with 14 political prisoners was released on March 17, 2016 by a presidential pardon decree.

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Tofiq Yaqublu

AZERBAIJAN

Detained January 24, 2013
 UPDATE: Rasul, along with 14 political prisoners was released on March 17, 2016 by a presidential pardon decree. 

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Leyla Yunus

AZERBAIJAN

Detained July 30, 2014
  UPDATE: Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus were allowed to travel to the Netherlands on April 19, 2016 to receive medical care for their deteriorating health and to be reunited with their daughter.

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