Center for National and International Studies



“We explicitly state that severe political repressions are being carried out without any substantial evidence, relying on baseless and fabricated assumptions…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

On May 21, 2024, Imran Gurbanli, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (AXCP) Sharur District branch, was falsely accused and sentenced to 30 days in prison under Article 535.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses by the order of the authorities of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Until now, he has not been allowed to meet with his family and relatives in the temporary detention center under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. AXCP Nakhchivan branch stated that they believe Imran Gurbanli is being tortured in that detention center (such practices have become a tradition in the Autonomous Republic since Vasif Talibov‘s time), and this is why he is not being allowed to meet with his family.

Ali Karimli, the chairperson of the AXCP said that the life of Elxan Aliyev, a staff member of the AXCP Organizational Department and a political prisoner, is currently in greater danger. Elxan Aliyev, who was unlawfully sentenced to five years in prison, attempted suicide in protest by swallowing a remote control battery. Instead of providing immediate medical assistance, he was placed in solitary confinement at the Medical Facility. “Aliyev, a severely ill individual who has suffered two strokes, is at increasing risk as long as the swallowed battery remains in his stomach”, said Karimli.

Another AXCP activist, political prisoner Elnur Hesen, is also reported to be in grave danger. Elnur Hesen, who was subjected to severe torture following his unjust imprisonment, has been on a dry hunger strike since May 25th due to the lack of attention to his torture complaints. According to his lawyer, his condition has deteriorated drastically, and he could fall into a coma at any moment. Elnur Hasan’s father, Elchin Islamov, has reported to Azadliq newspaper he asked his son to stop the hunger strike. “I met with Elnur Hesenov, and indeed, his health condition was very serious. He had lost weight and was extremely weak. On behalf of myself, other parents of martyrs, friends, and party members, I advised him to stop the hunger strike and not to harm himself. As martyr parents, we know he is innocent and has petitioned the court for his release. I also met with the head of the detention center, Elnur Ismayilov, and I asked him to convey our appeal on behalf of the martyr families to the relevant authorities. He promised that the matter would be resolved positively. Following this, Elnur Hesenov agreed to end his hunger strike,” said the martyr’s father.

A political prisoner and father of three young children, Agil Humbatov, was placed in solitary confinement (punishment cell) for protesting the amnesty decree, which did not apply to political prisoners.

The detention period of Tofig Yagublu, a member of the National Council of Democratic Forces has been extended by another 20 days.

Economist Farid Mehralizade has been charged under Article 206.3.2 (smuggling committed by an organized group) of the Criminal Code. According to the court’s decision, a preventive detention measure of 3 months and 20 days has been imposed on Farid Mehralizade.  Despite an initial statement from the Ministry of Internal Affairs claiming that the economist was invited to the police department merely as a witness, it became clear on June 1st that Farid Mehralizade was detained in connection with the criminal case against “Abzas Media.” On June 1st, economist Farid Mehralizade was given a pre-trial detention sentence of 3 months and 20 days. This information was provided to “Abzas Media” by his wife, Nargiz Mukhtarova. She stated that the detention order was issued by the Khatai District Court at the request of the Baku City Main Police Department (BCMPD). “Farid does not accept the charges and asserts that his arrest is politically motivated. He reported that there was no violence, only mistreatment. When he was taken from the street, a bag was placed over his head. Farid has had no cooperation or connection with ‘Abzas Media‘,” said Mukhtarova. Farid Mehralizade was detained by the police on May 30th while leaving his workplace, and his home was subsequently searched. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that the economist was not detained but merely invited to the police department.

According to “Abzas Media,” the investigator from BCMPD did not present any evidence in court. The investigator justified the detention by stating that Farid Mehralizade needs to remain in custody during the investigation. After a brief deliberation, the court granted the request.

A group of public figures and activists shared a joint statement on the unjust Arrests in the “Abzas Media Case”. The statement says: “We declare that dozens of individuals who have no cooperation or connection with “Abzas Media” have been summoned as witnesses in this case. Additionally, Anar Mammadli, the head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center, and Imran Aliyev, the head of the “meclis.info” platform, which monitors parliamentary activities, have been arrested on charges of “smuggling.” Farid Mehralizade has no connection with “Abzas Media” and has simply responded to the questions as one of the hundreds of experts who have provided commentary. The economist has also appeared as an expert in media outlets close to the government. Since most independent lawyers are defending other arrested journalists, the government aims to leave these individuals defenseless by involving unrelated persons in the “Abzas Media case,” prolonging the criminal case, and seeking new victims. We explicitly state that these severe political repressions are being carried out without any substantial evidence, relying on baseless and fabricated assumptions. We call on the Azerbaijani government to cease involving Civil Society activists in the “Abzas Media case” without any proof and through fabricated facts. We demand the immediate release of “Abzas Media” employees who have been falsely imprisoned, including Ulvi Hasanli, Muhammad Kekalov, Sevinc Vagifgizi (Abbasova), Hafiz Babali, Nargiz Absalomova, and Elnara Gasimova, as well as all others subjected to repression.

June 4, 2024