In Azerbaijan, politically-motivated tax-evasion charges and raids continue against independent media, including the Turan news agency, the country’s last independent media company, U.S. ambassador to OSCE David T. Killion said during the 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.
“Independent websites are blocked, such as the Azerbaijani-language version of RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe). Blogger Meyman Huseynov was arrested and abused in detention. Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli reportedly was abducted from Georgia to Azerbaijan,” he said.
“We urge Azerbaijan to cease its harassment of opposition figures, including the incarceration or administrative detention of opposition party members, and the firing of those who attend rallies or support opposition parties via social media. We call for the release of those incarcerated for exercising their freedoms of association and peaceful assembly. We also urge Azerbaijan to improve the environment for civil society, including by amending restrictive NGO legislation, unfreezing bank accounts of NGOs and their leaders, and returning confiscated equipment.”
Killion said that over 145 people are estimated to remain incarcerated on politically motivated charges, including Ilgar Mammadov who remains imprisoned despite a ruling in his favor by the European Court of Human Rights.
“They, too, should be freed expeditiously, without condition,” he emphasized.