In the joint letter, these NGOs call on the President to ensure a thorough and impartial investigation into the use of torture against Mehman Huseynov, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Further, they call on the Azerbaijani authorities, through the President, to put an end to the unprecedented repression against civil society int he country.
Mehman Huseynov is a well-known Azerbaijani photojournalist, blogger and human rights defender who has been pivotal in raising awareness of social, economical and political issues in Azerbaijan. Through Sancaq Production, which he launched, he has reported on corruption and nepotism in Azerbaijan. Sancaq reports on the daily life of Azerbaijanis, which shows how truly Mehman Huseynov cares about the people in Azerbaijan. With his reporting he outreached to various communities across Azerbaijan. He is today a popular blogger and social-media journalist in Azerbaijan. His reporting finds a high level of interest and interaction on social media platforms in Azerbaijan. He was awarded the Press Prize Award from Fritt Ord Foundation and the Zeit Foundation in 2013.
Given the content of the letter, the NGOs see the sentencing of Mehman Huseynov as emblematic of the abusive and arbitrary methods used by authorities to punish and attempt to silence human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers in Azerbaijan, which they strongly condemn.
The NGOs therefore call upon the President to:
- Take all necessary steps to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov and lift the travel ban imposed on him
- Ensure a thorough and impartial investigation into the use of torture against Mehman Huseynov, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. A failure to do so would indicate that Azerbaijan is not taking seriously its obligations in regard to the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
- Put an end to the unprecedented repression against civil society, by dropping all restrictions put upon Intigam Aliyev and Khadija Ismayilova following their release on probation, ending all baseless investigations against human rights defenders and their organisations, amending legislation to ensure that it is line with Azerbaijan’s human rights obligations and the recommendations made by European and international human rights mechanisms.
- Call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov
Some 50 member and partner NGOs of Human Rights Houses have written to the Azerbaijani President and authorities to call for the immediate and unconditional release of photojournalist, blogger and human rights defender Mehman Huseynov.
- HRC34 Intervention March 2017
HRHF’s intervention at the Human Rights Council, March 2017 detailing the sentencing of Azerbaijani photoblogger Mehman Huseynov to two years imprisonment.
Mehman Huseynov detained in Azerbaijan (10 January 2017)