Center for National and International Studies



“The surge in political prisoners has sharply risen as Azerbaijani authorities escalate their crackdown on independent media…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

Tofig Yagublu, a member of the “Musavat” party holding a position in the leadership of the National Council, has been apprehended. Higar Hezi, Yagublu’s daughter and an activist, reported that the police conducted a searc at their house and placed money inside. Allegedly, they placed 5,000 euros, 2,500 manat and some dollars at their house, accoridng to Hezi. Hezi also said that if anything happen to her father president Aliyev is personally responsible.

Ulvi Hasanli, the director of “Abzas Media,” currently detained in Baku Detention Center No. 1, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman after being denied the opportunity to meet with his family and speak with his lawyer by phone. Following his complaint, the detention center management warned Hasanli, suggesting that his “condition will worsen” if he persists in expressing grievances. Hasanli‘s sister shared details, stating, “Elnur Ismayilov, the chairman of the Baku Pretrial Detention Center, and Javid, his deputy, questioned why he wrote to the Ombudsman. They questioned why he filed complaints everywhere, asserting that the Ombudsman is aligned with them and won’t address the matter.”

Reporter Teymur Karimov, the director of “Kanal 11” internet television, has reportedly been taken into custody. “Kanal 11” Internet TV issued a statement regarding Teymur Karimov’s situation, noting that he faced significant pressure following a report he aired in July on both “Kanal 11” and “Azad soz” internet televisions. The report focused on the then executive head of Dashkasan, former MP Ahad Abiyev. Sources indicate that Teymur Karimov is being held in the Department of Combating Organized Crime, known as “Bandotdel.” The arrest of journalist Teymur Karimov has been officially confirmed. He, presenting himself as the head of one of the Internet TVs, was detained by police officers. On December 11, following complaints from multiple citizens, a criminal case was initiated against Karimov under the charge of extortion by threat, as per the Criminal Code. Investigations are currently in progress, a fact confirmed by İbrahim Amiraslanli, an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs press service. Exposing the assault on Karabakh veterans by the police has come at a high cost for journalist Karimov. Journalist Ganimat Zahid asserts that “the decision to apprehend Teymur was, in fact, made in the aftermath of his coverage of that distressing incident.” Karimov becomes the sixth journalist to face arrest in recent weeks. Karimov maintains his innocence, attributing his arrest to his professional endeavors. His lawyer has reported that he was subjected to physical coercion.

Journalist Hafiz Babaly has been taken to the Khatai District Court, where an impending arrest warrant awaits him. The investigative journalist is facing accusations of smuggling. His arrest follows the apprehension of journalists affiliated with Abzas Media. Over the past few weeks, a minimum of seven journalists have been detained.

Journalist Nurlan Libre has expressed concerns that authorities are planning to arrest him. In a Facebook post, he stated, “since I heard the news of Teymur’s arrest, I left the house and haven’t stayed there for two nights. Not because I’m hiding from the police, but because I decided to be with my friend’s family during their most difficult time.” He further mentioned receiving a call from a suspicious number inquiring about his residence, confirming his suspicions about being under scrutiny. Libre anticipates being implicated in the criminal case involving Teymur. He expects, at best, to be considered a witness and potentially face travel restrictions. Despite the likelihood of being asked to testify against Teymur, he declares his refusal to do so. Libre acknowledges the possibility of his own arrest and asserts his readiness for it. Reflecting on their series of reports on police brutality, Libre notes that since 2019, he and Teymur anticipated potential arrests and were mentally prepared for such a scenario. He mentions that the threat of arrest, even jokingly discussed between them, has been looming for some time.

Activist Mohyeddin Orujov has also been taken into custody. According to his family, they have no information about the whereabouts of their child. Human rights defender Rufat Safarov asserts that activist Mohyeddin Orujov shared harsh criticism of President Ilham Aliyev‘s policies on his social media account. “This was sufficient for the police to violently apprehend Mohyeddin, keeping him handcuffed to a chair in the courtyard of the 32nd Police Station overnight in cold weather. He was insulted, beaten, and administratively detained for 30 days.”

Meydan TV has been unable to obtain information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) regarding Mohyeddin Orujov’s situation. Previously, he had been imprisoned for 30 days and fined 200 manat by the Surakhani District Court. The family of Mohyeddin Orujov, reportedly detained on December 13, has confirmed that the activist is currently held in the Baku City Police Department. His mother, Tarana Orujova, revealed in an interview with the Voice of America that the administration informed her that her son was arrested on drug charges. She further expressed concerns about her son being subjected to physical abuse.

The crackdown on independent journalists investigating corruption in Azerbaijan is unacceptable. The European Parliament stands with the remaining pro-democratic forces in Azerbaijan and demands the immediate release of the imprisoned journalists.” Viola von Cramo, a member of the European Parliament shared this on her “X” account. Additionally, she posted a photo alongside various parliament members, each holding signs that read “Stand by the defenders of rights,” “Journalism is not a crime,” and “Free Sevinj Vagifgizi, Ulvi Hasanli, Mahammad Kekalov, Nargiz Absalamova, Rufat Muradli, Aziz Orujov”, calling for the prompt release of the incarcerated journalists.

The area surrounding the renowned Turşsu spring is facing extensive destruction. Residents of Lachin have reported widespread tree destructions in the vicinity of the historic Turshsu spring near Aganus village in the Lachin district. It is alleged that the deforestation is in preparation for the construction of a recreation center and a restaurant. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, in an official statement, has acknowledged that the construction activities in Aganus village were carried out without proper authorization. It’s noteworthy that complaints persistently reaching our platform come from recently relocated residents of Lachin city. The primary sources of discontent are related to the “Baku Abadlig” company, overseeing the reconstruction of Lachin city, and its affiliated entities.

A woman lost her life in Baku as a result of an incident in a street pond caused by heavy rain in the capital over the last day. The intense rainfall led to the displacement of the sewage line in front of the State Traffic Police Department of the Binagadi District Police Department, creating a large pond in the area. The unfortunate incident occurred when a 79-year-old woman, accidentally fell into the pond while she was out. Despite the prompt arrival of an ambulance, efforts to save the woman’s life were unsuccessful.

December 15, 2023