A new report, Repression Beyond Borders: Exiled Azerbaijanis in Georgia, documents how Azerbaijani journalists and activists have been abducted and harassed by the Azerbaijani government even while living abroad.
In 2014, the government of Azerbaijan began an unprecedented crackdown against dissidents and independent activists. Many civil society leaders were imprisoned on politically motivated grounds and others were forced to flee the country. Many came to nearby Georgia where they presumed they would be free from harassment. The abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli and his unlawful transfer to Azerbaijan in May of this year marked a turning point in the lives of Azerbaijani exiles in Georgia.
Mukhtarli's case is not an isolated incident, although it is the most unsettling example of operations by the Azerbaijani authorities to target dissidents residing outside the country. In recent years, many Azerbaijani nationals have been denied residence permits and asylum by Georgian authorities. These incidents raise serious questions as to the extent of collusion between the countries and influence exerted by the Azerbaijani government over the policies and respect for human rights of the Georgian authorities.
Join us for the Brussels launch of Repression Beyond Borders on October 23. Representatives of the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, the International Partnership for Human Rights, Freedom Now, and the Open Society European Policy Institute will discuss the report’s findings and recommendations.
- Tamta Mikeladze is the director of the Civil and Political Rights Program at the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center.
- Simon Papuashvili is program director at the International Partnership for Human Rights.
- Maran Turner is director at Freedom Now.
- Iskra Kirova (Moderator) is senior policy analyst at the Open Society European Policy Institute.