Participants of the rally near the  monument of M. E. Rasulzade in the Novkhani village. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

23 August 2018, 18:06

Activists call on Angela Merkel to raise human rights issue in Azerbaijan

The Reporters Without Borders (RWB) and the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) have reminded the German Chancellor of a large number of imprisoned journalists and repressions of oppositionists' relatives in Azerbaijan. Rights defenders associate hopes for the release of blogger Mekhman Guseinov with Angela Merkel's visit to Baku.

Today, Chancellor Merkel begins her tour over countries of Southern Caucasus – she will visit Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"The largest number of media professionals have been arrested in Azerbaijan; currently, eight journalists and two bloggers are imprisoned because of their work," the RWB has stated.

In the RWB's latest press freedom rating, Azerbaijan takes the 163rd place out of 180 countries, the "Deutsche Welle" reports.

The IRFS has urged Merkel not to sacrifice human rights for economic interests and raise the issue of releasing all journalists and activists in Baku.

Rasul Djafarov, the head of the Human Rights Club, has noted that on the eve of Merkel's visit, Ilgar Mamedov, the leader of the Republican Alternative (ReAl) Party, had been released.

On August 3, the Azerbaijani Centre for the Protection of Political Prisoners updated the list of political prisoners by including 151 persons into it.

Emin Guseinov, the executive director of the IRFS, who is in political emigration in Europe, wrote an open letter to Ms Merkel.

"Critics of the authorities and denouncers of corruption face daily the threat of reprisal and arrest on fabricated charges," says the letter.

During her visits to Baku and Yerevan, Chancellor Merkel will also touch upon the issue of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 23, 2018 at 12:38 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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