Azerbaijan: Government Harasses Human Rights Lawyers

Washington

In response to the recent harassment of human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan, Freedom House issued following statement: 

“The government of Azerbaijan should end its campaign of innuendo and threats against Elchin Sadigov and Fariz Namazli, two of the few lawyers in the country who dare to represent political prisoners and bring attention to government wrongdoings,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “The government should stop mistreating lawyers for conducting their professional duties.”

Background: 

On November 2, a pro-government media outlet posted articles accusing human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov of being romantically involved with the wife of one of his defendants. While Sadigov was at the Grave Crimes Unit of the Interior Ministry, one of the investigators threatened him with physical harm. The lawyer’s wife, Zubeyda Sadigova, also a lawyer, has also received threats with regards to her husband's work. In a separate incident on the same day, human rights lawyer Fariz Namazli was informed of a complaint filed against him alleging that he assaulted a person in court on October 20, 2016, when in fact Namazli was attacked himself.

Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, 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.

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