Azerbaijan: Activists’ Families Detained
In response to the government of Azerbaijan detaining the families of human rights activists in attempts to end the activists’ work, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“By detaining the relatives of activists working out of the country, the government of Azerbaijan shows its ruthless intolerance of dissent of any kind,” said Robert Herman, director of international programs. “In recent days, it took into custody 10 relatives of a blogger living in the Netherlands, Ordukhan Babirov. This followed the detention of the relatives of a rapper living in Germany, Jamal Ali, because of a music video critical of President Aliyev. The harassment highlights the government’s fear of its own citizens and its lack of respect for freedom of speech."
On February 20, Azerbaijani government also sentenced the following activists to 30 days administrative detention: Rahim Shaliyev, a member of the Real activist group; Amil Memmedzade, a member of the opposition Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP); and journalist Elchin Ismayilli. On February 21, authorities arrested APFP members Farasat Ahmadov, Elvin Behremov. and Namiq Abbasaliyev.
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.86, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.