Prize-winning photojournalist denied permission to leave Azerbaijan

-Photojournalist Mehman Huseynov (23) at Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) in Azerbaijan, was yesterday banned from traveling to Oslo, Norway, where he is to receive a prestigious award from Fritt Ord Foundation and the Zeit Foundation, says Maria Dahle, director of The Human Rights House Foundation today.

Maria Dahle adds that Huseynov is awarded the prize for his courageous and professional photojournalism work covering the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.

-Mehman’s photos related to the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan were widespread and highly acknowledged by the European media last year. The photos covered the daily life of people in Baku and the Azerbaijani authorities viewed such documentation as humiliation to their image abroad. Mehman’s photos displayed Azerbaijani authorities’ harsh handling of people participating in peaceful demonstrations, weekly unlawful evictions of house-owners, and demolishions of private houses linked to preparations of the 2012 Eurovision. He also documented court cases against journalists, activists and human rights defenders on fabricated charges. In the aftermath of 2012 Eurovision, the reprisal of Mehman Huseynov’s photojournalist work was to accuse him of hooliganism, for which the young journalist faced up to five-years imprisonment. Due to the Azerbaijani law, maximum one year is set for investigation of the case, which means that investigation of his case should have ended 13 June 2013, says Dahle.

Mehman Huseynov (to the left) takes pictures of demonstrators during the 2012 Eurovision (Photo: Amund Trellevik, Human Rights House Foundation). 

Must lift travel ban

– 17 June 2013 Azerbaijani authorities imposed a travel ban on Mehman Huseynov. The European Union (EU), Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) should react promptly, – emphasizes Maria Dahle.

-The travel ban on Mehman Huseynov is completely arbitrary and violates his right to freedom of movement, and severely contradicts both international standards and domestic law. Article 12 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights states that everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his or her own, says Emin Huseynov, IRFS CEO and Chair in a press realease from IRFS.

The Fritt Ord Foundation also urges the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately lift the ban and allow Mehman Huseynov to travel to Oslo. 

Called for Huseynovs release last year

Last year, The Human Rights House Foundation considered the arrest of Mehman Huseynov as a retaliation for his work as a photo- and video-journalist documenting human rights violations in Azerbaijan. -We called for his immediate and unconditional release and that all charges against him should be dropped, says Maria Dahle.

Maria Dahle, director the of Human Rights House Foundation.


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