Center for National and International Studies



“The police threaten the people with their families. They beat them and target them through coercion. They make people sign false statements through torture and threats. They behave however they want with people; the police treat individuals the way they want…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

The Sabail District Court has reviewed the case of Aziz Orucov, the director of “Kanal 13” internet television, concerning the extension of his pre-trial detention. The court has decided to extend Orucov‘s detention period by one month. Aziz Orucov, the founder and director of Kanal13, was arrested in November and subsequently sentenced to three months of pre-trial detention. The charges against him include constructing a house without a permit and currency smuggling. Shamo Eminov, a freelance journalist collaborating with Kanal 13, has also been accused of currency smuggling. The journalist vehemently denies the allegations, attributing them to his journalistic activities.

On the International Day of Mother Tongue, the authorities in Lankaran have prevented ethnic minorities from celebrating the day devoted to the mother language. Women of Talish ethnic background living in Lankaran encountered police restrictions when attempting to arrange an event dedicated to Mother Language Day. Konul Rasul, in an interview with Meydan TV, shared that they had gathered in a café to organize a small event: “For two months, we have formed a union of Talysh women from different regions. We decided to find and reward little children who recite poems in the Talysh language on social media.” She mentioned that the Lankaran District Police Department intervened multiple times in the event organization, intimidating café owners and creating obstacles: “Such impediments are created, and when there is a sense of threat, people step back. Citizens of the country are not allowed to organize events in their mother tongue. Do I not have such a right?” Renowned human rights defender Rufat Safarov stated that preventing them from having an event in their mother tongue violated their constitutional rights.

Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli commented on the matter, saying that this is not just a restriction of the constitutional rights of those people but also an act of hypocrisy. Ethnic groups and minorities living in Azerbaijan have the right to speak, write, read, receive education, and establish media outlets in their mother tongue. “The Aliyev regime has restricted the rights of everyone in the country. The regime’s unlawful actions, especially the brutal actions of the police, undermine the trust of ethnic minorities in the Azerbaijani state. I strongly condemn the incident. I demand the punishment of the police involved in this act of violence. Every ethnic group should speak and preserve its mother tongue.”

Restrictions on phone calls and visits with the family and relatives of journalists detained in the “Abzas Media case” have been lifted. Lawyer Shahla Humbatova provided this information, stating that, according to the information received from the investigative authority (Ministry of Internal Affairs), individuals detained in connection with this criminal case can now communicate with their families. Previously, journalists detained in the “Abzas Media case” had reported restrictions on phone calls and visits with their relatives. They also emphasized that many of their relatives’ bank cards had restrictions applied. While some banks confirmed these complaints, obtaining an official response from relevant authorities was not possible.

However, despite the removal of restrictions on phone calls and visits with family members for the journalists detained in the “Abzas Media” case, limitations on phone conversations with their lawyers still remain. As of February 21, the prohibition on phone calls with the lawyer of journalist Nargiz Abasli, detained in the “Abzas Media” case, has not been lifted, despite the issued power of attorney. This information was provided to “Abzas Media” by the journalist’s lawyer, Rovshana Rahimli. The lawyer stated that their arguments were not taken into account during the proceedings in the Baku Court of Appeal.

Zhala Bayramova, the daughter of Gubad Ibadoghlu, the detained politician, staged a protest in front of the Azerbaijani embassy in Germany. Bayramova highlighted her father’s serious health issues and emphasized the necessity of his transfer to a hospital, appealing for support from the public. In her social media post, she mentioned that her family is afraid of losing Ibadoghlu, who suffers from diabetes and had a heart attack in jail. Gubad Ibadoghlu is an Azerbaijani economist and scholar who was arrested in Baku in the summer of 2023. There have been calls for his immediate and unconditional release from various quarters, including members of the United States House of Representatives. The resolution signed by U.S. lawmakers criticized the treatment of Gubad Ibadoghlu by the Azerbaijani government and urged for his release, citing concerns about his health and human rights violations.

Nargiz Hezi, the daughter of another jailed politician Tofig Yagublu, expressed similar concerns about her father’s health urging the authorities to release him immidately. Hezi’s post on social media: I spoke with my father a little while ago. During our phone conversation, it became apparent that he underwent a new medical examination. Both X-rays and heart examinations were performed. The prison doctor informed him that the previous blood test results indicated elevated cholesterol levels (206), and as a result, he was prescribed a medication to address this issue. Additionally, he mentioned that an ultrasound examination will be conducted in the coming days. When my father asked why these examinations were being conducted, the institution stated that they were simply conducting routine check-ups. I hope these examinations are carried out with good intentions. My father’s weight loss is a cause for serious concern for us. Simultaneously, the news of Navalny‘s death in prison further exacerbates our worry about my father. Hezi added that her family is afraid that, like Navalny, his father might be killed in prison. “Despite all the unlawful actions and brutality, they couldn’t divert Tofig Yagublu from his path. Now, there is only one way out left for Ilham Aliyev – to kill him. I have never excluded this possibility and still don’t. If Putin could comfortably kill Navalny, despite being in the spotlight of the world, why wouldn’t Ilham Aliyev do it? In our last meeting, I saw that my father has lost a significant amount of weight. I notice that his health deterioate a bit more every week, and this deeply concerns me.”

A member of the Muslim Union Movement, Jeyhun Hajiyev, was apprehended by plainclothes individuals while at his workplace. The most recent information indicates that he was transported to the Nasimi District Police Department and detained on charges related to narcotics.

Zeka Miragayev, a religious activist currently in custody, revealed that he faced threats against his family while in police custody. He asserts that false narcotics charges were brought against him due to his social media posts about police actions. According to Miragayev, there are numerous individuals currently detained in investigative isolators and penal institutions who have been unfairly accused of drug offenses. Speaking during his testimony at the Baku Heavy Crimes Court on February 19, he expressed, “I call on everyone involved in my arrest… I pray for justice for every prayer.” Miragayev refutes the narcotics allegations as baseless and underscores that he was detained shortly after posting a Facebook status about the police. Azadlig newspaper shared parts of his statements from the court hearing: “They came to my house to take me. A police officer named Najaf put narcotics in my pocket, and then they displayed it in front of the camera. The police of Vilayet Eyvazov oppress people…” As a person accused in the criminal case, his initial statement is available in the case materials. Responding to a question, he stated that he was coerced into signing that statement, rendering the document fraudulent: “The police threaten the people with their families. They beat them and target them through coercion. They make people sign false statements through torture and threats. They behave however they want with people; the police treat individuals the way they want.”


February 23, 2024