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Azerbaijan: UN experts urge release of ailing Government critic Huseyn Abdullayev

GENEVA (27 April 2021) – UN human rights experts* today urged the immediate release of infirm inmate Huseyn Abdullayev, a vocal opponent of the Government of Azerbaijan, who has been granted asylum in Germany on political grounds.

Mr. Abdullayev was arrested in Turkey on 21 April 2018 and forcibly transferred to Azerbaijan the following day. On 1 October 2019, he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Baku Military Court.

In August 2020, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in its Opinion No. 48/2020 that the detention of Mr. Abdullayev was arbitrary given the absence of a legal basis. It was also established that basic guarantees of due process and a fair trial were not respected, including the trial proceedings before a Military Court, despite Mr. Abdullayev's civilian status. The Working Group further concluded that the extradition of Mr. Abdullayev, who was entitled to international protection, to Azerbaijan by Turkey violated the principle of non-refoulement.

"We have received reports that Mr. Abdullayev's physical and mental health condition is deteriorating, including by presenting a critical increase in his arterial blood pressure. In addition, he is experiencing a severe neurosis," the experts said, adding that he had recently started a hunger strike to protest his detention.

The Working Group called upon the Government of Azerbaijan to immediately release Mr. Abdullayev, and for the Governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan to provide compensation and other reparations.


*The experts: Ms. Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur), Ms. Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), Ms. Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Mr. Mumba Malila, Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Mr. Nils Melzer , Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Ms. Tlaleng Mokofeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Mr. Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

The Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Azerbaijan

For more information and media requests, please contact: Ms. Lucie Viersma (+41 22 928 9380 / lviersma@ohchr.org) or write to wgad@ohchr.org.

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 7578 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

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