Azerbaijan: Free Jailed Human Rights Defender

Human Rights

(Berlin, May 2, 2024) – Azerbaijani authorities should immediately free a prominent human rights defender, Anar Mammadli, and drop the charges against him, the Human Rights House Foundation said this week in a statement signed by Human Rights Watch and 28 other groups. Mammadi was arrested on April 29, 2024, on bogus “smuggling” charges amid an escalating crackdown on independent voices.

Mammadli, who is a member of the Network of Human Rights Houses, is also a founding member of the recently formed Climate of Justice Initiative. The group is a civil society undertaking that seeks to use the 29th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP29), which will take place in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, in November, to promote civic space and environmental justice in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s crackdown on freedoms of expression, assembly, and association raises grave concerns about how civil society, including activists, human rights defenders, and journalists will be able to participate meaningfully and push for ambitious action at COP29, Human Rights Watch said.

The statement urges other countries to use the momentum around COP29 in Baku to demand the release of Mammadli and all other political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

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