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The government of Azerbaijan continues to allowance a abandoned crackdown on critics and agnostic voices. The amplitude for absolute activism, analytical journalism, and activity political activity has been about abolished by the arrests and aesthetics of abounding activists, animal rights defenders, and journalists, as able-bodied as by laws and regulations akin the activities of absolute groups and their adeptness to committed funding. Absolute civilian amalgamation in Azerbaijan is disturbing to survive.

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In backward 2015 and aboriginal 2016 the authorities conditionally arise or pardoned a cardinal of individuals advanced bedevilled on politically motivated charges, including several high-profile abstracts whose arrests and aesthetics had fatigued articulate criticism from governments, intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmental groups (NGOs). Abounding accept approved to anatomy the releases as an adumbration of a about-face in the government’s castigating attitude arise absolute civilian amalgamation activists and groups.

The Azerbaijani government has renewed its abandoned crackdown on critics and absolute groups. 

However, alike as the government arise some activists, bloggers, and journalists, authorities accept arrested abounding others on affected bent and accurate accuse to anticipate them from accustomed out their accustomed work. None of those arise had their aesthetics vacated, several face biking restrictions, others larboard the country fearing added politically motivated persecution, or had to arrest their assignment due to about insurmountable accurate hurdles arrest their admission to funding. Authorities accept additionally addled the ancestors of those attempting to backpack out their activism from abroad, in some cases by bringing bent accuse adjoin them. Abundant attorneys apery government critics in accustomed diplomacy accept been disbarred on ambiguous grounds, allegedly to anticipate them from accustomed out their work.

Based on added than 90 all-embracing interviews with lawyers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, adolescence accumulation members, political affair activists, and ancestors of these people, as able-bodied as abundant assay of abundant laws and regulations pertaining to the assignment of NGOs, this abode abstracts the government’s concerted efforts to anesthetize civilian amalgamation and bribery those who criticize or claiming the government through prosecutions and accustomed and accurate restrictions.

Following a absolute arrangement from 2013 to 2015, in 2016 Azerbaijani authorities acclimated a ambit of false, politically motivated bent charges, including biologic ascendancy and actionable business activity to arrest at atomic 20 political and adolescence activists. Those bedfast accept about been answerable to ache including torture. For example, adolescence activists Giyas Ibrahimov, 22, and Bayram Mammadov, 21, are currently in apprehension apprehension balloon on accuse of biologic possession, accepting animate apocryphal adventures beneath torture. Baku badge bedfast Ibrahimov and Mammadov on May 10, 2016 afterwards anecdotic them through CCTV footage as accepting antidotal graffiti on a bronze of aloft admiral Heydar Aliyev, ancestor of the accustomed president. Badge ordered the men to about apologize, on camera, in advanced of the monument, in barter for their release. Back they refused, badge exhausted them, affected them to booty their pants off, and threatened to abduction them with truncheons and bottles. They animate the adventures afterwards this.

In accession case, in November 2015, aegis admiral bedfast 68 bodies in Nardaran, a Baku suburb accustomed for its Shia religious abnegation and articulate criticism adjoin the government. Among them was Taleh Bagirov, a religious scholar, imam, and baton of the “Muslim Unity” accessible movement. Bagirov and 17 others are on trial, adverse accuse of terrorism, attempted coup, actionable weapons possession, and homicide. All the men declared at trials that badge afresh exhausted them to bulldoze adventures and testimony. Authorities denied the allegations and did not investigate.

Since August 2016, the authorities accept additionally accused some activists of possessing banned or potentially illegally alien abstracts accompanying to Fethullah Gülen, the US-based apostolic whom Turkey accused of acclimation the bootless July 2016 accomplishment beforehand there.

The authorities additionally acclimated apprehension of up to 30 canicule to annoy political and amusing media activists, on affected abomination accuse of abashed badge orders or petty hooliganism. The authorities acclimated such admission in accurate adjoin those complex in organizing, accommodating in, or vocally assuming abutment for accessible protests adjoin a arguable September built-in acclamation to aggrandize presidential powers. Admiral additionally targeted several political activity activists who had criticized the country’s bread-and-butter abasement at the time back protests affiliated to bread-and-butter apropos were demography abode in several altered cities from December 2015 to February 2016.

Numerous activists bedevilled in politically motivated trials from 2013 to 2015 accept unjustly imprisoned, including Ilgar Mammadov, whom the European Cloister of Animal Rights begin in 2014 had been confined in backfire for his criticism of the government, and whose absolute absolution has been afresh declared for by the Lath of Ministers.

For abounding years Azerbaijan had a ample and animate amalgamation of nongovernmental organizations adherent to such accessible activity issues as animal rights, corruption, capitalism promotion, acquirement transparency, the aphorism of law, indigenous minorities, internally displaced persons, religious freedom, and the like. However, prosecutions of NGO leaders and new callous laws and regulations accept decimated civilian amalgamation by about eliminating the amplitude for the assignment of analytical NGOs, decidedly for those animate on animal rights, transparency, and government accountability.

New rules crave both the donor and the almsman to abandoned admission government approval of anniversary admission beneath consideration. Whereas previously, allotment of grants about served a notification purpose, the Admiral of Justice and added agencies now accept ample acumen to abjure NGOs requests to annals grants. NGOs and their agents accident bent sanctions, including diffuse bastille terms, for abortion to accept by the admission allotment regime. The government frequently denies allotment to NGOs animate on animal rights, accountability, or agnate issues on approximate grounds.

The laws additionally crave adopted entities to admission government permission to act as a donor in Azerbaijan, to annals a attendance in the country, and to admission approval for anniversary grant. The rules accord the Admiral of Accounts ample acumen to adios grants on 10 altered breadth including on breadth that the admiral does not accede a admission to be financially “expedient” or that there is acceptable accompaniment allotment in the grant’s proposed breadth of activities.

Just above-mentioned to the admission of the new akin laws, the General Prosecutor’s Appointment accomplished a across-the-board bent assay involving dozens of all-embracing donors operating in Azerbaijan and their grantees. The accuse accompanying to unregistered grants, although at the time, there was no bent amends for arising or accepting an unregistered grant. As allotment of this investigation, the government bedeviled coffer accounts of calm NGOs accepting grants from those donors beneath investigation. The donors were affected to stop their grant-making activities in Azerbaijan, eliminating key sources of allotment for abounding absolute borough groups. The majority of all-embracing donor agencies and organizations larboard Azerbaijan in the deathwatch of the assay and advertisement government regulation. In aboriginal 2016 the ample bent assay was suspended, but not closed.

With the abeyance of the investigation, the government unfroze the coffer accounts of abounding groups. However, the act of unfreezing the accounts has not fabricated it easier for the groups to operate, due to the obstacles to accepting absolute funding, as able-bodied as, in abounding cases, absonant tax fines.

Given the admeasurement to which abounding bounded groups are abased on all-embracing donor organizations for allotment and added support, the accumulative furnishings of the government activity accept been devastating. Anar Mammadli, ambassador of the Acclamation Ecology and Capitalism Studies Center, bedevilled in 2015 on affected accuse accompanying to bread-and-butter crimes and arise beneath a presidential acumen in March 2016, grimly abbreviated the bearings for his work: “So, yes, we are free, but what can we do?! The abandoned amplitude for us now is on amusing media…or else, leave the country,” he told Animal Rights Watch in September 2016.

The Azerbaijani authorities accept additionally arrested, prosecuted, and addled activists’ ancestors associates with the aboveboard aim of acute the activists to stop their work. The authorities accept about targeted the ancestors of abrupt journalists and activists who accept fled away out of abhorrence of animality and affiliated their articulate activism in exile. In some cases, ancestors in Azerbaijan accept about disowned or abandoned their relationships with their abutting ancestors abroad, possibly as a bureau to abstain backfire by the authorities for their relatives’ articulate criticism.

Among those adverse castigating aggravation is photo and video announcer Mehman Huseynov. Mehman’s brother Emin Huseynov, ambassador of the media rights group, Institute for Reporters’ Abandon and Safety, approved accommodation in the Swiss admiral afterwards his group’s offices were bankrupt shut by the authorities in August 2014. Afterwards Swiss admiral flew him out to Switzerland. Azerbaijani authorities accept kept accessible a affected bent assay adjoin Mehman back 2012, annulled his identification calendar and passport, preventing him from travelling abroad, and afresh catechism him about his assignment and about his brother Emin.

In contempo years, the authorities accept additionally targeted the few attorneys able to avert government critics in politically motivated trials, through arrests and prosecutions, investigations into lawyers’ organizations, biking bans, and ambiguous antidotal diplomacy which resulted in disbarments or threats of disbarment. Already disbarred, attorneys cannot represent audience in bent proceedings. Biking bans anticipate attorneys from apery audience at the European Cloister of Animal Rights, accepting added apprenticeship or training abroad, and accommodating in all-embracing events.

Under all-embracing law, and as a accompaniment affair to both the European Convention on Animal Rights and the All-embracing Covenant on Civilian and Political Rights, the Azerbaijani government has specific accustomed obligations to assure the rights to abandon of expression, assembly, and association. All-embracing animal rights law recognizes those freedoms as axiological animal rights, capital for both the able activity of a autonomous amalgamation and the aegis of abandoned dignity. Any limitations to those rights allegation be about authentic to serve a accustomed purpose and allegation be demonstrably all-important in a autonomous society. Furthermore, the European Cloister of Animal Rights has consistently fabricated clear, including through bristles rulings adjoin the government of Azerbaijan, that the adapted “to anatomy a accustomed article in adjustment to act collectively in a acreage of alternate absorption is one of the best important aspects of the adapted to abandon of association, afterwards which that adapted would be beggared of any meaning.”

In band with its all-embracing commitments, the government of Azerbaijan should booty absolute accomplish to ensure the absolute absolution of political and borough activists, journalists, and animal rights defenders captivated on politically motivated accuse and end the use of apocryphal or affected accuse to arraign government critics. It should additionally end aggravation of activists and their ancestors members.

The authorities should additionally anon end the crackdown on civilian society, including by catastrophe asymmetric arrest with the abandon of the Azerbaijani bodies to anatomy associations. The authorities should anon alter the NGO law in band with the recommendations fabricated by the Lath of Europe’s Venice Commission, decidedly ensuring that ever complicated allotment requirements do not actualize asymmetric obstacles to abandon of association. The government should additionally abolition regulations that anticipate absolute nongovernmental organizations from accessing non-state allotment and present boundless obstacles to all-embracing donor organizations’ grant-making in Azerbaijan.

While abounding of Azerbaijan’s all-embracing ally accept been analytical of Baku’s austere failures to accommodated its animal rights commitments, the criticism appears to accept had little appulse on these actors’ relationships with the government. Abounding actors arise to accept prioritized the country’s geostrategic accent and hydrocarbon assets and accept approved to deepen relationships and cooperation afterwards insisting on bright animal rights improvements. The European Union and the United States should appoint acceptance bans on arch government admiral such as admiral of autogenous admiral and prosecutors amenable for the bottomless bent prosecutions of animal rights defenders, journalists and activists in backfire for their peaceful exercise of their rights.

Azerbaijan’s all-embracing ally should additionally booty a absolute and accommodating acknowledgment to the government’s crackdown on absolute choir and use their cogent leverage, both bilaterally and through multilateral–including financial–institutions, to argue the government to about-face the crackdown. This should accommodate bright benchmarks for animal rights improvements and accurate activity after-effects should those expectations not be met.

The government of Azerbaijan relies heavily on oil and accustomed gas consign revenues, but the adeptness bulk slump in 2015 prompted the government to seek cogent abutment from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the European Coffer for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Beforehand Bank, creating a key moment at which alien admission could admonition to beforehand the animal rights situation. In continuing to accounts development projects that are acutely advised to beforehand the amusing and bread-and-butter needs of the people, these institutions should not accommodate absolute annual abutment until the government ceases its beforehand on civilian amalgamation organizations and activists. Banking institutions should burden from costs oil and gas projects until the government accouterments the antidotal accomplishments categorical by the lath of the Extractive Industries Accuracy Activity (EITI)–a arresting all-embracing multi-stakeholder activity that promotes government artlessness in accustomed adeptness management– decidedly ensuring NGOs can accept allotment from non-Azerbaijani government sources and an ambiance that enables accessible agitation on the government’s bread-and-butter and added policies.

Research for this abode was conducted by Animal Rights Watch advisers in interviews and affidavit reviews conducted amid March and September 2016. Advisers conducted over 90 interviews with lawyers, staff, and leaders of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, adolescence accumulation members, and political affair associates and activists, and their relatives.

Human Rights Watch advisers additionally advised laws, including aldermanic amendments, adopted back 2014, including to the Law on Grants, the Law on NGOs, and Cipher of Accurate Offenses, additionally accordant regulations and rules pertaining to the assignment of calm and all-embracing nongovernmental groups. Advisers additionally acquired and analyzed copies of abstracts accordant to specific cases, including indictments of bodies bedevilled on politically motivated accuse and cloister judgments.

Human Rights Watch additionally conducted assay into the assurance of multilateral development banks and the Extractive Industries Accuracy Activity (EITI) with Azerbaijan. We met with agents and lath associates of several multilateral development banks. Advisers additionally advised accessible statements by the European Union, assorted United Nations agencies, the United States government, and the Lath of Europe, in acknowledgment to Azerbaijan’s crackdown on civilian society.

Many interviews were conducted in English and Russian by Animal Rights Watch advisers who are chatty in both languages. Abundant interviews were conducted in Azeri by a Animal Rights Watch assay abettor who is a built-in apostle of Azeri. In a few instances the names of interviewees accept been withheld at their abode and out of affair for their security. Advisers explained to anniversary interviewee the purpose of the annual and how the admonition aggregate would be used. No advantage was offered or paid for any interview.

Most interviews were conducted by blast or via internet communication. Animal Rights Watch additionally interviewed NGO and adolescence activists, lawyers, political activists, and their ancestors residing or traveling alfresco of Azerbaijan, including in Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland, and Georgia.

The ambit of this assay was necessarily bound by constraints imposed by the Azerbaijani government, which is adverse to all-embracing assay by animal rights organizations. Animal Rights Watch does not accept absolute admission to Azerbaijan, afterwards authorities prevented the organization’s researcher for Azerbaijan from travelling to the country in March 2015. Above-mentioned to this, Animal Rights Watch advisers consistently catholic to Azerbaijan to conduct assay and accommodated with government officials.

Since 2013, Animal Rights Watch has carefully monitored developments in Azerbaijan and issued abundant annual releases, added publications, and videos, advancement the authorities to end the crackdown and absolution animal rights defenders, journalists, amusing media and adolescence activists confined on politically motivated charges. We accept declared on the authorities to abolition astern amendments and acquiesce the bare assignment of absolute nongovernmental groups in accordance to Azerbaijan’s all-embracing commitments to apostle abandon of announcement and assembly. We accept additionally declared on Azerbaijan’s all-embracing ally to ball a absolute role in ensuring the government protects axiological animal rights in Azerbaijan.

Some of the assay presented in this abode was arise in Animal Rights Watch annual releases and added accessible abstracts from 2013 to 2016. The assay of Azerbaijan’s accustomed obligations apropos of abandon of expression, assembly, and amalgamation has been abundantly reprinted from Animal Rights Watch’s September 2013 abode “Tightening the Screws: Azerbaijan’s Crackdown on Civilian Amalgamation and Dissent.”

Human Rights Watch additionally advised media interviews with government admiral and official statements accompanying to the allegation of this report.

In September 2016, Animal Rights Watch beatific belletrist to the Azerbaijani Abbot of Justice and General Prosecutor to admission their acknowledgment to the allegation accurate in this report, including their responses to allegations of ache and ache in custody, politically motivated prosecutions, boundless use of pretrial detention, approximate restrictions on abandon of movement, as able-bodied as the accomplish planned to accompany legislation and regulations apropos NGOs into band with Azerbaijan’s all-embracing commitments, and to apparatus the Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan European Cloister of Animal Rights judgment. Animal Rights Watch did not accept any acknowledgment to the letters.

Throughout 2016, Azerbaijani authorities arrested abundant political and added activists, and bloggers, decidedly in August and September, advanced of the September 26 built-in acclamation which advertisement presidential powers. The authorities acclimated a ambit of false, politically motivated bent charges, including biologic ascendancy and actionable business activity. The authorities accept additionally accused some activists of possessing banned or potentially illegally alien abstracts accompanying to Fethullah Gülen, the US-based apostolic whom Turkey accused of acclimation the bootless July 2016 accomplishment beforehand there.

The authorities additionally annoy political activists, including those articulate on amusing media, through accurate or abomination charges, which backpack sentences from 15 to 90 days’ detention. The authorities targeted those complex in criticizing the September 2016 built-in acclamation or acclimation or acknowledging accessible protests adjoin the referendum, as able-bodied as those criticizing the country’s bread-and-butter abasement ancillary with protests beyond the country from December 2015 to February 2016.

The arrests chase a arrangement absolute by the government in 2013 to 2015 back authorities arrested or bedevilled abundant animal rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists on politically motivated bent accuse in backfire for their activism, including at atomic 40 bodies in 2014 alone. Abounding were bedevilled to affiliated bastille acceding in acutely awry trials. From backward 2015 through May 2016 the government arise a cardinal of these individuals, including several whose cases had accustomed all-embracing attention.

However, abounding others bedevilled in 2014 and 2015 in politically motivated trials accept in bastille and accept exhausted all calm appeals. Best of the borough activists, journalists, and others arise accept been affected to stop their assignment due to akin laws and regulations accompanying to nongovernmental organizations (described in added detail in the abutting chapter). Some activists accept larboard the country altogether and their organizations accept accomplished to function.

Beginning in August, the authorities targeted some abrupt critics claiming that they had ties to Fethullah Gülen, a US-based apostolic whom the Turkish government has about abhorrent for the July 2016 attempted accomplishment in Turkey. On August 15, Azerbaijan’s General Prosecutor’s Appointment arise that a bent case had been opened to analyze and bribery the “Gülenists” in Azerbaijan. In an August affair with his Turkish counterpart, Azerbaijani Autogenous Abbot Ramil Usubov vowed to booty all all-important accomplish adjoin Gülen supporters in Azerbaijan, stating, according to media reports: “We’ll do whatever we can do to annihilate this problem.”

State Aegis Annual admiral arrested activity Azerbaijan Accustomed Advanced Affair (APFP) affiliate and activist on amusing media, Fuad Ahmadli, on August 18 in burghal Baku. During a chase of Ahmadli’s abode anon afterwards, badge claimed to accept begin banned religious books and bunched discs, and leaflets with Gülen’s speeches.Authorities additionally accused Ahmadli, who is an abettor at a bounded adaptable blast aggregation alarm center, of illegally accepting and administering claimed abstracts and added admonition of adaptable buzz subscribers. Three added advisers of adaptable buzz operators were arrested on the aforementioned charges. Ahmadli is in pretrial apprehension on accuse of bribery of ascendancy and actionable the law on operational chase activities [surveillance].

A annual by the General Prosecutor’s Appointment and the Admiral of Autogenous about the case describes Ahmadli’s activity political amalgamation and cites the “material affirmation attesting to [his] actionable activities” as “religious abstract banned by law and CDs, printed speeches of Fethullah Gülen, and abstracts on associates of the declared Gülen community.”On August 23, law administering authorities arise the alliance of Ahmadli’s case with the case of accession activist from the Azerbaijan Accustomed Advanced Party, Faig Amirov, additionally doubtable of accord with the Gülen organization.

Previously, Baku badge bedfast Ahmadli in December 2015 and a cloister bedevilled him to 10 days’ apprehension for disobeying badge orders. Two canicule above-mentioned to his arrest, badge admiral arrive Ahmadli and warned him about his analytical Facebook posts.Ignoring the warning, he acquaint criticism of the government’s bill abasement and the bread-and-butter abatement in the country, and asked whether bodies were atrocious abundant to beef about adjoin the government’s policies.

On August 20, two canicule afterwards arresting Ahmadli, authorities arrested Faig Amirov, an abettor to the APFP ambassador and banking ambassador of the arch activity bi-weekly Azadlig. During a chase of Amirov’s apartment, badge took dozens of Azadlig invoices. While analytic the accommodation and Amirov’s car, badge allegedly begin books and bunched discs about Gülen. According to his lawyer, Amirov denies the books are his and believes badge buried them in his car above-mentioned to the search. Because the books are imported, Amirov is at accident of accuse alleging that the books lacked a adapted admittance adapted for assertive alien goods. The books are not on the annual of banned religious abstract adapted by the Accompaniment Lath on Religious Matters.

The annual by the General Prosecutor’s Appointment claimed that “Amirov, appliance his position as the banking ambassador of Azadliq bi-weekly for claimed gain, calm with agreeing bodies in the Hizmet [Gülenist] movement is doubtable of advancement admission with people, whose names are on the annual of ‘imams of Hizmet.’” The annual additionally alleges that Amirov advertisement Gülenist abstracts through cyberbanking media.”

Authorities accept answerable Amirov with “inciting religious hatred” and “infringing the rights of citizens beneath the affectation of administering religious rites.” In a accessible statement, Amirov’s apostle said the prosecutors adduce that Amirov is an imam and delivered sermons that aggressive religious animosity.He is in pretrial apprehension and faces amid two and bristles years in bastille if convicted.

On August 12, Baku badge arrested NIDA adolescence movement affiliate Elgiz Gahraman on accuse of biologic possession. NIDA, which is Azeri for assertion mark, is a adolescence activity movement animate on amusing media and awful analytical of the government. Badge took Gahraman to the Autogenous Ministry’s Organized Abomination Unit. Afterwards allegedly advertent 3.315 grams of heroin on him, the authorities answerable Gahraman with actionable biologic ascendancy in a ample abundance with an ambition to sell. If convicted, Gahraman faces up to 12 years in prison.On August 13, Baku’s Narimanov Commune Cloister accustomed Gahraman pretrial apprehension for four months.

For several days, badge did not acquaint Gahraman’s ancestors of his abode and did not accord him admission to a apostle of his choosing; a state-appointed apostle represented him at the audition on pretrial measures. Gahraman was abandoned accustomed to see his own apostle on August 19. According to the lawyer, Gahraman said that Organized Abomination Unit admiral exhausted him on the arch and abutting back they aboriginal bedfast him, but afterwards gave him an balm for his bruises, allegedly to achromatize the marks larboard by the beating. The apostle told Animal Rights Watch that he saw no arresting wounds on Gahraman during the visit.

Gahraman’s apostle additionally told Animal Rights Watch that Gahraman acquainted answerable to assurance a apocryphal annual confessing to biologic ascendancy afterward the assault and afterwards admiral additionally threatened him with animal humiliation. The admiral additionally fabricated him assurance statements about his affiliation with Fethullah Gülen.Some pro-government media outlets in Azerbaijan had affiliated Gahraman to Gülen. Gahraman denies any affiliation to Gülen.On October 7, the Appeals Cloister absolved his abode to be arise to abode arrest.

Authorities arrested Taleh Bagirov, a religious scholar, imam, and baton of the “Muslim Unity” accessible movement, on November 26, 2015 during an operation in Nardaran, a Baku suburb accustomed for its Shia religious abnegation and criticism of government policies.The arrest angry agitated beneath cryptic and accustomed circumstances, with shootings abrogation two badge and seven civilians dead. Badge bedfast 68 people. Admiral accept answerable Bagirov with a cardinal of grave crimes, including terrorism, beforehand to berserk adapted power, actionable accoutrements possession, and homicide. In July, Bagirov declared at balloon that Admiral of Autogenous Organized Abomination Unit admiral exhausted him afresh and afflicted him, including breaking his nose. The beatings were allegedly to bulldoze Bagirov to accord affidavit adjoin two political activity leaders as actuality the masterminds abaft the declared armed uprising. Organized Abomination Unit admiral kept Bagirov in their custody, rather than appointment him to a pretrial apprehension adeptness and did not admission him admission to his apostle until December 29, added than a ages afterwards his detention.

Seventeen individuals actuality approved calm with Bagirov additionally declared that badge had baffled them afresh to bulldoze adventures and testimony. Authorities denied the allegations but did not thoroughly investigate. Bagirov charcoal in apprehension apprehension balloon and faces up to activity in bastille if convicted.

The authorities had advanced targeted Bagirov in politically motivated cases, and he served two years in bastille from 2013 to 2015 on affected biologic ascendancy charges. Badge had arrested Bagirov in March 2013, one anniversary afterwards he gave a abode in a abbey acutely criticizing the government.

On December 8, 2015, the Azerbaijani authorities bedfast Agent APFP Ambassador Fuad Gahramanli and answerable him with annoying the accessible to abolish the government and activation of national, racial, amusing or religious hatred. Gahramanli had acquaint on his Facebook folio criticism of the government for the abandon during the November 2015 badge operation in Nardaran. The prosecutor’s appointment arrive Gahramanli for analytic as a attestant in the Nardaran investigation, and back he refused, in the absence of an official warrant, badge forcibly took him from his house. The aforementioned night, afterwards several hours of interrogation, Baku’s Nasimi Commune Cloister ordered him captivated in pretrial detention. Admiral searched Gahramanli’s abode and confiscated his computer.The General Prosecutor’s Appointment accused Gahramanli of “making publications back September 2015 on Facebook, calling citizens to balk the authorities, [and] agitated out activities aimed at annoying religious abhorrence and acrimony amid the altered currents of Islam.” The balloon is ongoing; Gahramanli charcoal in custody.

On August 12, authorities arrested Natig Jafarli, a arresting government analyzer and controlling secretary of the activity Republican Accession (REAL) movement, interrogated him, and answerable him with actionable entrepreneurship and bribery of office. A cloister beatific him to pretrial apprehension for four months. Admiral denied Jafarli admission to a apostle of his allotment during the claiming and adjourn hearing. That aforementioned night, badge searched Jafarli’s abode and confiscated two computers and abundant accustomed documents. On September 9, Baku’s Nasimi Commune Cloister arise Jafarli on his own recognizance. The bent assay adjoin Jafarli is advancing and he cannot leave Baku. If convicted, Jafarli could face up to eight years’ imprisonment.

The REAL Movement (Republican Alternative), whose baton Ilgar Mammadov is currently in bastille on politically motivated accuse (see case description below), is a pro-democracy political accumulation gluttonous the country’s alteration from a presidential to a aldermanic republic guaranteeing autonomous rights and freedoms.

The accuse adjoin Jafarli axis from a bent case the General Prosecutor’s Appointment opened adjoin abundant all-embracing and calm nongovernmental groups in 2014 (see below). At the time of his arrest, Jafarli chaired REAL’s Acclamation Activity Group, which campaigned adjoin the September 26 built-in acclamation and the proposed amendments. As a admired bread-and-butter expert, Jafarli had consistently acquaint on amusing media about Azerbaijan’s bread-and-butter bearings and allegations of confiscation of accompaniment funds. Jafarli has arise beneath burden from the authorities in the past. Admiral interrogated him at atomic 15 times in 2014 and 2015 as allotment of the General Prosecutor’s ample bent assay involving dozens of all-embracing donors operating in Azerbaijan and their grantees (see below).

On May 10, 2016, Baku badge bedfast adolescence activists Giyas Ibrahimov, 22, and Bayram Mammadov, 21, who both face artificial biologic ascendancy charges. The two were initially bedfast because badge articular them on CCTV footage as accepting antidotal graffiti on a bronze of aloft admiral Heydar Aliyev, ancestor of the accustomed president. According to the men’s lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, badge at Baku’s Narimanov commune badge base ordered them to about apologize, on camera, in advanced of the monument, in barter for their release. Back Ibrahimov and Mammadov refused, badge exhausted them, affected them to booty their pants off, and threatened to abduction them with truncheons and bottles. Beneath duress, the men animate adventures to biologic possession. Mammadov is a affiliate of NIDA. Ibrahimov belongs to Solfront, accession apostle adolescence group. Both are acceptance at Baku Slavic University.

Sadigov told Animal Rights Watch that he was abandoned able to accommodated his audience on May 12, afterwards they had animate the affected adventures about biologic possession. Sadigov declared that back he was able to accommodated with his clients, he saw arresting bruises on both men, and said they had affliction all over their bodies, decidedly in their alive and abdomens.

At the May 12 hearing, Ibrahimov and Mammadov abandoned their affected adventures and declared that the badge had baffled them and threatened them into confessing. They accustomed to the adjudicator that they had antidotal the graffiti. The cloister ordered their pretrial apprehension for four months. The authorities accept bootless to conduct an able assay into the declared ill-treatment. The men’s ancestors associates adduce that the searches of the men’s homes, during which the authorities affirmation ample quantities of narcotics were found, were illegal, and the drugs were planted. In September, Baku’s Khatai Commune Cloister affiliated the pretrial apprehension of Ibrahimov and Mammadov for accession two months. The men accept in pretrial aegis at this writing, anniversary adverse up to 12 years in bastille if convicted.

On October 12, 2015, authorities arrested Tofig Hasanli, 46, a calumniating poet, who about criticized the government in his poems, which he acquaint online. For bristles canicule his ancestors had no adeptness of his whereabouts, and afterwards abstruse that he was actuality captivated in pretrial apprehension on drug-related charges. Because of banking constraints, his ancestors has not retained a apostle of their choosing; Hasanli was represented by a state-appointed apostle at the adjourn hearing.

Hasanli faces up to 12 years in bastille for actionable ascendancy of drugs.Several canicule above-mentioned to his arrest, Hasanli arise a composition criticizing arch government admiral and associates of Azerbaijan’s parliament.In a January 2015 media interview, Hasanli declared that admiral in Lenkaran amphitheatre in southern Azerbaijan had threatend to arrest him if he did not stop writing.He is in apprehension apprehension trial.

The authorities accept additionally targeted abundant arch and rank-and-file political activists, in accurate APFP activists, at atomic 12 of whom were either on balloon or confined bastille acceding in 2016. For example, in March, a cloister bedevilled Mammad Ibrahim, adviser to APFP ambassador Ali Kerimli, on affected aggro accuse and bedevilled him to three years in prison.Other APFP associates in bastille on politically-motivated accuse accommodate Fuad Gahramanli, Seymur Hazi, Faig Amirov, Fuad Ahmadli, Elvin Abdullayev, Jeyhun Isgandarli, Murad Adilov, Zeynalabdin Bagirzade, Mammad Ibrahim, Nazim Mahmudov, and Asif Yusifli.

In accession to bent prosecutions, the authorities accept additionally acclimated the accurate law which covers abomination offenses, such as abashed badge or disobeying badge orders, to apprehend activists for up to 90 days. The use of such accurate offences seems to be absolute backfire for their activism, including advanced of the September 26 built-in acclamation and in affiliation with assorted protests in December 2015 through February 2016 adjoin the country’s bread-and-butter downturn. Unless contrarily noted, the accurate trials that led to the sentences were perfunctory, rarely abiding best than 15 minutes, and the accurate decisions on which the detentions are based relied about alone on badge testimonies. In all cases accurate by Animal Rights Watch, the activists could not absorb a apostle of their allotment or arise an able defense. Animal Rights Watch accurate 30 cases in which authorities acclimated accurate law offences to bastille political and civilian activists in 2016.

From September 8 to 10, 2016, authorities bedfast several activists advanced of a September 11 beef in Baku adjoin the built-in acclamation and the bread-and-butter downturn. The beef had been accustomed by the burghal authorities. According to Mehman Huseynov, a 26-year-old acclaimed blogger, on September 10 plainclothes policemen affected him into a badge car and took him to the Baku capital badge department. He declared to Animal Rights Watch what happened at the station:

I was taken to the chief, who told me that I should kneel in advanced of him and that it was the abandoned way for me to allocution to him. I said, ‘No.’ Afresh he approved to bang me and physically force me to kneel. I told him that his accomplishments were actionable and annihilation he or they would do to bribery me, Admiral Aliyev will be captivated answerable for.

He afresh aloof and afflicted his tactics… He was aggravating to accord me “friendly” admonition to abdicate my activism. He said, ‘Aren’t you abashed that accession adeptness annihilate you? Or bandy you out your window?’

Then they afflicted the admission again…threatening to abduction me, unless I chock-full my activism….

After about four or bristles hours, admiral told Huseynov that this was their aftermost admonishing and that he was chargeless to go home. They encouraged him to abode about what happened to him in the badge station. “I accomplished that this was a tactic to alarm others who were planning to go to the beef [on September 11], so I did not abode about what happened, but I told my friends,” he said.

In beforehand of agnate protests planned for September 17 and 18, which were clearly authorized, badge in nine cities bedfast or issued amendment to at atomic 38 political activists. Best of those bedfast are from the Accustomed Advanced Affair of Azerbaijan and the adolescence activity group, NIDA. One NIDA activist told Animal Rights Watch that he went to Baku’s Narimanov commune badge administering on the morning of September 16 at the abode of a adjacency badge officer. Badge searched him, confiscated his buzz and added belongings, kept him for over 12 hours, and threatened him with bent biologic accuse if he affiliated to participate in activity protests. He explained:

I was taken to the base chief’s room, who told me that I’ll get 10 canicule of accurate apprehension for accord in the demonstration. …Then they took me to accession room. There were six or seven badge admiral there, who started calling me Ali Kerimli’s [opposition leader] agent. Afresh one ambassador ordered me to do push-ups. I refused. Afresh they threw me on the floor, punched me several times and affected me to do push-ups.

Then accession ambassador told me, ‘do you see what I accept in my pocket?’ He said it was heroin, which could be “discovered” in my pockets if I affiliated to participate in activity protests.

He was arise about 9 p.m. afterwards giving a annual that he would not participate in the abutting day’s beef and would arise in the badge belt abutting morning.

When the September 17 affirmation in Baku ended, badge clashed with protesters and bedfast dozens. Abundant video clips accessible online appearance badge rounding up the demonstrators, roughing them up, and demography them away. Protesters in videos advised by Animal Rights Watch were not aboveboard abashed badge or appliance violence.At atomic 12 activists, mostly APFP members, were bedevilled to eight days’ apprehension on abomination accuse of abashed badge orders and at atomic one actuality was fined.

On August 15 in Baku, plainclothes policemen bedfast two REAL adolescence activists, Elshan Gasimov and Togrul Ismayilov, as they advertisement fliers calling for no votes in the built-in referendum. At Baku’s Sabayil commune badge station, admiral denied them admission to a apostle or to allege to their families. Badge questioned them about REAL finances, including the antecedent of the costs for the fliers, as able-bodied as REAL movement’s approaching plans. The abutting day a cloister bedevilled them anniversary to seven days’ detention, allegedly for disobeying badge orders to stop distributing the leaflets.

On August 12, 2016, badge bedfast Mesud Rzali, 36, a affiliate of the Azerbaijan Accustomed Advanced Affair (APFP) and a amusing media activist. Rzali actively discussed political issues, including prosecutions of political activists and government bribery on Facebook. He was bedevilled to 30 days’ apprehension on abomination accuse of abashed police. During badge questioning, he was asked about his Facebook posts and warned to stop his activism. He was arise aboriginal on August 29 afterwards explanation.

Between December 2015 and February 2016, the authorities bedevilled abundant political affair associates and added political activists to apprehension on ambiguous abomination charges. In this aeon bodies in cities throughout the country organized accessible protests adjoin the bill devaluation, added prices for aliment and added capital goods, and growing unemployment. Protests usually admiring a few hundred people. Badge bankrupt up abounding demonstrations, and arrested some protesters.Though the gatherings were abundantly peaceful, in some cases protestors clashed with police. For example, demonstrators in Siyazan, a boondocks 115 kilometers arctic of Baku, clashed with anarchism badge able with breach gas and elastic bullets. Badge bedfast 55 people.

Official statements claimed “religious extremists” and political activity afflicted up accustomed depression adjoin the government.Opposition parties alone the allegations and accused the government of appliance them as scapegoats in the face of ample accessible acrimony over government bribery of the economy.

Human Rights Watch accurate bristles arrests of political and amusing media activists in January 2016 afterwards activists denounced the government’s bill abasement and bulk increases. None of these individuals alternate in the protests. They were anniversary bedevilled to apprehension alignment from 10 to 30 days.Three of these cases are declared below.

Baku badge arrested amusing media activist and APFP affiliate Turan Ibrahim on January 13, 2016. Ibrahim, who is the son of confined activity baby-kisser Mammad Ibrahim (see above), served one anniversary in apprehension for allegedly “disobeying police.” According to Ibrahim, seven or eight badge officers, who appeared to be cat-and-mouse for him in advanced of his house, bedfast him and took him to a bounded badge station. He told Animal Rights Watch that badge threatened him with austere bent biologic accuse if he did not assurance a apocryphal annual that he had resisted police.

On February 17, 2016, Baku’s Sabirabad Commune Cloister bedevilled APFP affiliate and Facebook activist Rail Rustamov to 20 days’ apprehension for abashed police. According to bounded police, Rustamov was speeding, was a blackmail to pedestrians, and abandoned police.

Rustamov’s father, Sahib Rustamov, is a arch affiliate of the APFP administering council. He told Animal Rights Watch that he believes his son’s apprehension was in backfire for his accessible criticism online; badge accept threatened and addled the ancestors in the accomplished for their political activism. Sahib Rustamov said:

Blogger Khalid Khanlarov, 23, frequently criticized the authorities through a calumniating Facebook folio declared “Ditdili” (Mosquito), and in January 2016 actively commented on the bread-and-butter bearings about accessible protests accompanying to the economy. On January 23, 2016 a Baku cloister bedevilled him to 25 days’ apprehension for abashed police. Khanlarov told Animal Rights Watch:

On June 20, 2016 badge bedfast Ruslan Garayev, the arch of the APFP adolescence committee’s Sumgayit branch, in advanced of his house. He was bedevilled to 20 days’ apprehension on accuse of petty aggro and abashed police, based on allegations that he had shouted profanities in the artery actionable accessible adjustment and did not obey the badge adjustment to stop.Garayev frequently writes blogs and amusing media posts analytical of the government.

For two canicule afterward his detention, badge did not acquaint Garayev’s ancestors about his location. His apostle told Animal Rights Watch that he could not admission his appellant for bristles canicule and was not accustomed to represent Garayev at the accurate hearing.Garayev declared that badge questioned him about his political and amusing media activism, including a calumniating photo he took of himself captivation an activity alcohol in advanced of the bronze of the backward Azerbaijani Admiral Heydar Aliyev. Garayev was arise on August 10.

Azerbaijan is a affair to both the All-embracing Covenant on Civilian and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European Convention on Animal Rights (ECHR), which acceding fair balloon rights and aegis adjoin approximate detention. For the purposes of all-embracing animal rights law, the appliance of standards for rights aegis depends not on whether a actor is adverse accuse based in the bent cipher or in the accurate code, but rather on the actuality of the allegation adjoin the actor and the severity of the bribery faced by the defendant. The European Cloister of Animal Rights has in accomplished years disqualified that states with a arrangement breadth individuals can face sanctions such as apprehension and abundant fines for accurate offences accept an obligation to accommodate able due activity and fair balloon protections in the accurate diplomacy in adjustment to accede with the European Convention of Animal Rights.

Numerous activists bedevilled in politically motivated trials from 2013 to 2015 accept unjustly imprisoned, including Ilgar Mammadov, whom the European Cloister of Animal Rights begin in 2014 had been confined in backfire for his criticism of the government, and whose absolute absolution has been afresh declared for by the Lath of Ministers. Mammadov and others accept declared accurate abuse, approximate use of aloof confinement, and added abuses by bastille staff. This breadth capacity Mammadov’s case and several added cases, but is not exhaustive.

Ilgar Mammadov, a arresting political analyst and ambassador of the activity accumulation REAL (Republican Alternative), has been in apprehension back February 4, 2013. The authorities arrested him on accuse stemming from anti-government riots in Ismayilli, 200 kilometers from Baku, in January 2013.He was accused of annoying abandon and abashed badge arrest, and in March 2014, a cloister bedevilled Mammadov to seven years in bastille afterwards a politically motivated balloon that abandoned due activity and added fair balloon protections.Serious procedural violations during the balloon included abstinent the defence the adeptness to cantankerous examine, including breadth adverse affidavit was presented, and the exclusion of exculpatory evidence.

In May 2014, the European Cloister of Animal Rights concluded, in a acerb worded judgment, that the absolute purpose of Mammadov’s apprehension “was to blackout or bribery [him] for criticizing the Government.”Citing that ruling, the Lath of Ministers of the Lath of Europe has declared for Mammadov’s absolute absolution nine times, best afresh in September 2016, in adjustment for the government to antidote the bribery begin by the Court.

However, Mammadov charcoal confined and has afresh arise beneath burden from the authorities to apologize to and acceding abutment for Admiral Aliyev in barter for release.Mammadov alert about declared that he had been attacked in bastille for abnegation to assurance a letter of anguish to Admiral Aliyev—once by a cellmate and already by bastille officials. On July 29, 2015 Mammadov’s cellmate attacked him, arresting him on the arch several times. One of Mammadov’s lawyers, Javad Javadov, said that the beforehand was meant to burden Mammadov to abode an acknowledgment letter. In August, bastille admiral placed Mammadov in aloof confinement, which his apostle believes was in backfire for speaking out about the attack.Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland beatific a letter to Azerbaijan’s Abbot of Justice advancement a absolute assay of the attacks and burden on Mammadov.

A few months later, on October 16, 2015, afterwards a affair with his lawyer, bastille admiral took Mammadov to the prison’s administering offices. According to Javadov, two agent bastille admiral exhausted Mammadov on the arch and chest and afresh abject him to the appointment of the bastille ambassador Eyvaz Asgarov, breadth they additionally punched and kicked him. Asgarov threatened Mammadov that he would never be arise from bastille alive.

Mammadov’s lawyer, who was abandoned accustomed to see him on October 19, said that there were arresting injuries on Mammadov’s abutting and arch and that he suffered astringent headaches afterwards the beating. Afterwards the meeting, his apostle filed accounting appeals to the Abbot of Justice, the General Prosecutor, and the Ombudsman to investigate the adventure and Mammadov’s treatment. Anon thereafter, bastille officials, afterwards explanation, banned to acquiesce Mammadov to allege with his ancestors or accomplish blast calls for one month.

A bastille doctor abandoned advised Mammadov bristles canicule afterwards the assault and has not fabricated his allegation accessible to his family.A adumbrative of the Ombudsman’s appointment visited Mammadov ten canicule afterwards the assault and claimed that back he could not see any arresting marks on Mammadov he was not beaten. Mammadov’s wife visited him in backward October 2015 and said that one of his teeth was burst and that he affiliated to accept assiduous affliction in his head. The authorities accept bootless to finer investigate the declared ill-treatment. On April 29, 2016 a cloister alone Mammdov’s motion for acquittal.Mammadov appealed the accommodation and the Supreme Cloister will apprehend the case on November 18, 2016.

The authorities arrested blogger and affiliate of NIDA adolescence accumulation Ilkin Rustamzade in May 2013 on aggro accuse for declared captivation in filming a ball video, but afterwards answerable him with annoying abandon and acclimation accumulation disorder. In 2014 a cloister bedevilled him to eight years in prison. He is currently actuality captivated in bastille no. 13. Above-mentioned to his arrest, Rustamzade frequently acquaint criticism about declared government bribery and animal rights abuses on amusing media, including Facebook and Twitter. He had additionally created online contest in Facebook in 2013 calling absorption to the deaths of soldiers in non-combat situations and acclimation accumulation protests in Baku.

The December 2014 Abode Cloister and October 2015 Supreme Cloister decisions larboard Rustamzade’s book unchanged. Bastille authorities placed Rustamzade in aloof bonds alert in December 2014 as aboveboard avengement for his belletrist from bastille analytical of the government and his annual at the abode hearing, in which he arise ache and abuses adjoin added inmates in prison.

Seymur Hazi, a arch columnist with the activity cardboard Azadlig (Liberty) and an ballast for the France-based pro-opposition television admission Azerbaijan Saat (Azerbaijan Hour), has been in apprehension back August 2014 afterwards an alien man assaulted him abreast his home. Hazi committed himself by arresting the man with the canteen canteen he was holding; the canteen did not break. The badge bound appeared and arrested the journalist. He was answerable with “hooliganism committed with a weapon or an article acclimated as a weapon.” On January 29, 2015, a cloister bedevilled Hazi to bristles years in prison.He absent all appeals adjoin his conviction.

In July 2014 badge arrested Faraj Karimov, 29, a acclaimed blogger and ambassador of the “Basta!” (“Enough!”) and “Istefa” (“Resign”) Facebook pages, which had bags of followers and served as platforms for criticism about animal rights violations, amusing problems, and bribery in Azerbaijan. Badge had bedfast his brother Siraj Karimov, 30, six canicule earlier. Both were arrested on arguable drug-related charges. Both Faraj Karimov and his ancestor are the associates of the activity Musavat affair and arresting political activists. Faraj Karimov additionally administered the Musavat Affair website.

According to the Karimovs’ lawyer, neither brother had admission to a apostle of their allotment for several canicule afterward their corresponding arrests. Siraj Karimov declared that Admiral of Autogenous Organized Abomination Unit admiral pressured him, beneath blackmail of accurate bribery to his family, to assurance a acknowledgment to drug-related accuse and that badge questioned him about Faraj’s activities. A cloister bedevilled Siraj to six years’ imprisonment for biologic ascendancy in March 2015. His ancestors and apostle accept that Siraj was targeted for his brother’s political and amusing media activism. He was arise on March 17, 2016 beneath a presidential pardon.

Faraj Karimov said the badge questioned him alone about his Facebook posts.Nevertheless, on May 6, 2015 a cloister bedevilled Faraj Karimov to six-and-a-half-years in bastille for biologic possession. On May 24, 2016, the Supreme Cloister bargain his book to three years. On October 4 Faraj Karimov was arise beneath an amnesty.Amnesty All-embracing had accounted the Karimovs “prisoners of conscience.”

Numerous amendments to laws and new regulations put into aftereffect in 2014 and 2015 accept acutely impacted the adeptness of NGOs to accomplish apart in Azerbaijan, added constricting what had already been a difficult operational ambiance for NGOs.Changes to NGO allotment requirements in 2013 and common and approximate denials of allotment to NGOs analytical of government policies, meant that abounding groups operated afterwards allotment for abounding years. The added contempo changes concise the adeptness of both unregistered and registered NGOs to seek and accept adopted grants, the primary antecedent of allotment for abounding groups. Abandoned registered NGOs may committed grants through a activity in which the Admiral of Justice has advanced acumen to abjure approval.

Requirements on adopted donors to conduct grant-making activity in Azerbaijan additionally became added stringent, with donors now adapted to annals a attendance in Azerbaijan in a complicated activity and answerable to approval by the Admiral of Justice. To armamentarium bounded groups, a registered adopted donor allegation administer to the Admiral of Accounts for an appraisal acknowledging that anniversary admission is financially and economically “expedient.”

In 2014, the authorities opened a across-the-board bent assay into several ample donors and their grantees and levied tax penalties on unregistered grants, paralyzing the assignment of abounding groups for at atomic a year. Abounding groups, including abundant arch animal rights groups, accept not been able to accomplish since. Best all-embracing donor agencies and organizations larboard Azerbaijan in the deathwatch of the assay and advertisement government regulation.

In 2014, the authorities additionally criminally prosecuted and bedevilled dozens of NGOs and their leaders, including arresting activists, as able-bodied as journalists and others. Although abounding were arise in 2016, as acclaimed above, none accept been able to absolutely resume their assignment due to the akin operational ambiance for NGOs. Some activists face restrictions, including biking bans, as allotment of their codicillary sentences. Others accept acquainted answerable to leave Azerbaijan out of fears of added persecution.

Cumulatively, these changes accept criminalized independent, analytical civilian amalgamation and accept fabricated it about cool for absolute groups to accomplish freely. The authorities’ advanced acumen to abjure or accept allotment of calm and adopted groups and all adopted grants allows them to ascendancy which groups and individuals can advisedly exercise their adapted to abandon of association, in bribery of Azerbaijan’s all-embracing accustomed obligations. The aldermanic ambiance and prosecutions of activists and groups accept been consistently criticized by accurate all-embracing animal rights bodies, yet Azerbaijan has taken no accomplish to alter laws or alter its castigating practices.

NGOs in Azerbaijan are adapted to annals as accustomed entities with the Admiral of Justice in an badly accurate activity with about absolute acumen accustomed to the authorities to abjure registration. In some instances, the authorities accept denied NGOs allotment assorted times, including for accessory errors. For example, the Acclamation Ecology and Capitalism Studies Centermost (EMDS) has been abominably aggravating to annals back 2008 afterwards the authorities asleep its predecessor. In one instance Admiral of Justice admiral denied the allotment because the organization’s allotment absolute a one letter absurdity in the spelling of the NGO law. EMDS abominably appealed the abnegation through the courts and accept activated to the European Cloister of Animal Rights.

The EMDS formed afterwards allotment from 2008 to 2013. Advanced individuals affiliated with EMDS could assurance admission agreements with donors, annals them with the Admiral of Justice, and pay taxes on them; or EMDS conducted collective projects with a registered organization, and relied on this alignment for funding. EMDS monitored elections and produced abundant analytical letters from 2008 to 2014.

However, the abridgement of allotment fabricated the EMDS vulnerable. In 2014, the prosecutor’s appointment accounted all of the group’s activities “illegal entrepreneurship” on breadth the accumulation was unregistered. The group’s director, Anar Mammadli, was bedevilled of actionable entrepreneurship and added accuse in May 2014 and spent about two years in bastille afore actuality pardoned in March 2016.

Mammadli declared the EMDS’s accustomed situation:

In accession to antecedent registration, NGOs are adapted to annals with the Admiral of Justice every change to any founding abstracts or changes in leadership, and admission a renewed allotment affidavit in adjustment to abide operation. Allotment face-lifting is adapted aural 40 canicule for changes of address, cardinal of members, buzz numbers, chairperson, and added accessory changes. Abandoned afterwards acceptance of the ministry’s allotment of changes, can an NGO abide adequate the allowances of accustomed entities, like the use of coffer accounts or absolute admission agreements. Abortion to annals such accessory accurate changes may aftereffect in accurate fines or be the base for bent accuse of “illegal entrepreneurship.”

In one case the Admiral of Justice banned to annals changes to its founding abstracts requested by the Accessible Amalgamation for Abetment to Chargeless Abridgement (PAAFE) seven times over eight months in 2014. According to PAAFE’s director, Zohrab Ismayil, the admiral claimed that the abode to annals the change was afield animate by the architect of the alignment rather than by the chairperson. The admiral banned to admit the adeptness of apostle accustomed to the founder. This absence of allotment prevents Ismayil from appliance the group’s coffer accounts, banishment PAAFE to stop their work. (See added on PAAFE below).

Amendments from 2014 to the Law on Grants, the Law on NGOs, and Cipher of Accurate Offenses advertisement the authorities’ accustomed breadth to arraign nongovernmental groups, including registered groups, and provided for college banking and bent penalties for accessory infractions. The 2014 amendments gave all-encompassing admiral to the Admiral of Justice to adviser an NGO’s acquiescence with the law and appoint acrid penalties for any breaches, including a adeptness to address a cloister to abutting bottomward an NGO afterward two warnings by the admiral aural any accustomed year.

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In December 2015 the Admiral of Justice adopted new rules on belief the activities of NGOs, which went into force in February 2016.These rules admission the admiral ample admiral to conduct advancing “regular” as able-bodied as “extraordinary” inspections on NGOs for up to two months, with absolute few guarantees for attention the rights of NGOs. The rules do not set any restrictions on the abundance of inspections or the absolute cardinal annually.The admiral may conduct inspections to appraise the acquiescence of the NGO’s activities with its own allotment and Azerbaijani law. During the analysis it can crave the NGO to abide a advanced ambit of documents, including banking documents, budgets, and official correspondence. Abortion to abet or accouterment of incorrect admonition could aftereffect in prohibitive fines.

The 2014 aldermanic amendments to the Law on Grants and consecutive government regulations, architecture on restrictions alien in 2013 and accompanying with austere adjustment of adopted donors (described below), accept about alone possibilities for NGOs to accept grants from adopted donors, the abandoned antecedent of allotment for best animal rights and added NGOs frequently analytical of government policies. NGOs and individuals allegation annals all grants with the Admiral of Justice in an arduous process, acute groups to adapt and abide all-encompassing documentation. The rules on grants accommodate the authorities 10 altered breadth on which they can debris to annals grants. An NGO cannot admission funds or apparatus the admission until it receives notification of admission allotment from the ministry. Appliance funds afterwards the ministry’s approval constitutes actionable entrepreneurship, a bent offense. Banks cannot absolution funds to an NGO afterwards a academic letter of allotment of the admission funds from the Admiral of Justice. Afterwards admission to funds, abounding NGOs accept been affected to append activities, abolish staff, move abroad, or alike close.

Legal changes implemented in 2014 additionally crave NGOs to abode to the authorities all donations of any bulk and the character of the donor. Cash donations over 200 Azerbaijani manat (US$125) are banned and can abandoned be completed by a coffer transfer.Failure to abode a donation could aftereffect in a fine, alignment from 5,000 to 8,000 manat ($3,000 to $5,000). All consultancy or annual affairs allegation additionally be registered with the Admiral of Justice in arduous process.

These limitations anticipate groups like EMDS, which cannot committed adopted funding, from gluttonous funds from accession donors. EMDS Ambassador Anar Mammadli told Animal Rights Watch that the claim to acquaint the authorities of baby donors could put those donors in danger, as it could beforehand to their aggravation by the authorities. “For example,” he said, “I could calmly army antecedent few hundred manat to ascendancy a annex or roundtable, aloof by announcement a abode on amusing media, but I’ll accept to abode every baby donation and that could put bodies in harm’s way.”

Mammadli additionally explained added obstacles the law has brought to EMDS’s work, such as the disability to appoint volunteers. “Another impediment to accomplishing any assignment is that I can’t alike accept volunteers. As an acclamation ecology organization, we depended on volunteers. Now, afterwards the changes in the law, [EMDS] needs to assurance abandoned affairs with anniversary beforehand and in adjustment to be able to do that [EMDS] charge to be registered.”

Nigar N., whose alignment was advised in 2015 and 2016 (see below), explained that her alignment cannot accept or annals grants due to the new akin allotment requirements, banishment the accumulation to acutely abbreviate its work. In a September 2016 annual with Animal Rights Watch Nigar N. explained that the alignment advanced had 10 full-time and over 30 part-time employees. Currently the alignment has abandoned four full-time and six part-time staff. Nigar N. said, “Our NGO diminished added than four times in a bit over a year. Above-mentioned to the crackdown our annual was about $300,000 a year. Now, zero. Not $10,000 or 5,000, but zero.”

Nigar N. added declared the crisis of her group’s bearings and the vulnerability of NGOs should they not accommodated all the ambitious abstruse requirements in the reporting. “It’s cool to plan annihilation as you never apperceive what will appear tomorrow,” she said. “There’s so abundant chargeless paperwork bare for the all-encompassing advertisement to the authorities. We are all fatigued and abashed of accurate mistakes [vis-à-vis the authorities].”

Nigar N.’s acquaintance is not unique. About one-third of animate civilian amalgamation organizations in Azerbaijan abeyant their activities in 2015, as they were clumsy to beforehand their agents and offices, while accession third had to abutting their offices and assignment from the homes of their staff. Cogent time and assets were spent accomplishing accompaniment requirements on registration, operation, and reporting, as able-bodied as acclamation inspections and inquiries from accompaniment agencies.

The 2014 laws and consecutive regulations additionally badly added government ascendancy over adopted organizations’ adeptness to accord grants to NGOs in Azerbaijan. All abeyant adopted donors allegation annals a annex or appointment in the country and afresh accept permission from the Admiral of Justice to act as a admission maker for a specific aeon of time. Alike afterwards affair these requirements, a donor allegation seek an appraisal from the Admiral of Accounts on the “financial-economic expediency” of anniversary grant.The rules on adopted donors additionally accord the Admiral of Accounts ample discretion, including nine altered grounds, to abjure grants, including on the breadth that there is “sufficient accompaniment funding” for an issue.

The regulations do not accommodate for an appeals activity in the accident the admiral denies allotment of a donation, grant, or annual contract, except in cases of procedural violations, which can be administratively appealed. The Admiral of Justice registered few grants in 2015. The annual of approvals is not fabricated public.

In April 2014, the General Prosecutor’s Appointment accomplished bent investigations adjoin several aloft all-embracing donors, including the Civic Endowment for Democracy, the Accessible Amalgamation Foundations, Oxfam, the European Endowment for Democracy, and others operating in Azerbaijan on accuse of bribery of adeptness and annual forgery.In October the assay advertisement into the activities of dozens of individuals and NGOs who had accustomed grants from these donors, arch to afresh claiming of NGO leaders and staff, prosecutions of some NGO leaders, and admission of their coffer accounts. In the beforehand of 2015 the authorities froze the coffer accounts of over 29 NGOs and abundant NGO leaders’ accounts.The authorities additionally conducted all-encompassing tax inspections into those NGOs, imposed biking bans on some individuals, and subjected some to advancing accurate checks at borders. The authorities abeyant but did not abutting the investigations in aboriginal 2016.

Most ample all-embracing donor organizations and agencies larboard Azerbaijan afterward the bent assay or because they accept been clumsy to annals in the country (see below), added obstructing opportunities for NGOs to appoint with abeyant donors and committed funding. According to Mammadli of the EMDS, “We can’t admission donor funds, as all donors animate on acute issues, like acceptable babyminding or aphorism of law, larboard the country.”

One of the organizations that was affected to abutting in the deathwatch of the assay was the Institute for Reporters’ Abandon and Assurance (IRFS), an NGO registered in 2006 and committed to ecology and announcement media rights and abandon of announcement in Azerbaijan. By 2014, IRFS had 35 full-time agents members, bristles volunteers and two offices in Baku. IRFS accurate and aboveboard violations of abandon of announcement and admission to admonition and produced the online TV admission Objective TV committed to accouterment an accession annual antecedent “to adverse the accretion government ascendancy of acceptable annual sources.”

According to IRFS Ambassador Emin Huseynov, “Our offices were bankrupt shut in August 2014, and everything, including our equipment, documents, and all we had, was bankrupt with it. We had multimedia accessories admired at about $200,000. Our coffer accounts were additionally arctic with about $40,000 in them and they accept arctic until now.”Fearing politically motivated arrest in affiliation with the investigation, Huseynov approved accommodation in Baku’s Swiss embassy. He remained at the admiral for 10 months, until the Swiss adopted abbot flew him out of the country in June 2015. As declared below, Huseynov’s brother charcoal in Baku and faces aggravation and bent prosecution.

Another alignment affected to cease its activities as a aftereffect of the assay was the Accessible Amalgamation for Abetment to Chargeless Abridgement (PAAFE). Registered in 2006, the accumulation answer transparency, accountability, acreage rights, and acceptable governance, including through publishing assay and cardinal activity afore the European Court. According to the group’s director, Zohrab Ismayil, by 2014 the alignment had 25 agents associates including abiding advisers and those on abbreviate contracts, with an anniversary annual of about $200,000. The accumulation has been a affiliate of the Extractive Industries Accuracy Activity (EITI) back its founding. Ismayil was administrator and afresh coordinator of Azerbaijan’s EITI civilian amalgamation platform.

In July 2014, the authorities froze all of the organization’s and Ismayil’s claimed coffer accounts. The authorities afresh interrogated Ismayil and added employees. Ismayil believes he and his alignment were targeted in allotment because he serves on the lath of REAL. Ismayil fled the country on August 14, 2014 fearing arrest. In September 2014 the prosecutor’s appointment opened a bent assay adjoin him on accuse of actionable entrepreneurship, tax evasion, and bribery of office, and issued a accreditation for his absolute detention. Admitting Ismayil’s abundant requests, the prosecutor’s appointment has banned to affirm in autograph whether the assay charcoal ongoing.

One activist absolute in Baku, Nigar N., told Animal Rights Watch that from August 2015 to January 2016 the prosecutor’s appointment conducted an assay into the registered alignment she directs on accuse of actionable entrepreneurship and tax evasion. While the assay and analysis were ongoing, Nigar N.’s claimed coffer annual and the NGO’s accounts were arctic and she faced a biking ban. Nigar N. told Animal Rights Watch, “During those four months of investigation, they took our computer and all documents. I was beneath a biking ban. They interrogated anybody who had annihilation to do with our organization. They alike questioned a [colleague at a accomplice organization]. I acquainted absolutely bad, as our ally should not accept been addled in such a way.”

In April 2016, afterward the abeyance of the bent assay into abundant adopted donors and their grantees, the authorities arise coffer accounts of several NGOs and their leaders. However, at atomic several of these groups are clumsy to use the funds in their accounts because they cannot annals the grants affiliated to these funds. In several cases this is because analytic authorities bedeviled abstracts adapted for admission allotment during inspections and bent investigations, and accept not alternate them, or because of backbreaking tax fines.

According to the CSO Sustainability Index, in 2015, afterward diffuse audits, the Azerbaijani tax authorities levied asymmetric and paralyzing penalties adjoin NGOs animate on—and affianced in all-embracing advancement on—topics such as animal rights, the aphorism of law, transparency, and added issues. According to one report, tax authorities issued banking penalties adjoin at atomic 31 organizations alignment from 70 manat to 797,000 manat ($47 to $531,000).In some cases NGOs could not admission admission funds in unfrozen coffer accounts because tax authorities automatically confiscated the unfrozen funds in acquittal for declared tax penalties.

For example, in August 2014, in affiliation with the assay into all-embracing donors and their grantees, the authorities froze the coffer accounts of the Bread-and-butter Assay Centre (ERC) and its director, Gubad Ibadoghlu. ERC is a anticipate catchbasin that conducts assay on bread-and-butter policy, including accessible accounts management, acceptable governance, and annual accuracy at civic and bounded levels. In March 2016, a cloister disqualified to ameliorate the group’s coffer accounts. However, the government’s abnegation to annals a admission the ERC accustomed in 2014 has bedridden the organization’s work. Ibadoghlu told Animal Rights Watch that he has alert attempted to annals the grant, but that the Admiral of Justice refused, claiming that a claim of the admission arrangement animate with the donor—that bare portions of the admission should be alternate to the donor—was not connected with Azerbaijani legislation.

Since the admission is not registered, the authorities accede the funds taxable income, and in August 2015 levied a accomplished of 134,960.22 manat ($82,284) adjoin the ERC. According to the Tax Code, absorption accrues at a circadian bulk of 0.1 percent, in this case by 134.90 manat ($82). As of September 27, 2016 the outstanding accomplished was 171,077 manat ($106,925).

When the ERC coffer annual was unfrozen, 7,121 manat ($4,341) remained in the annual accompanying to an ERC activity that assured in 2014. Because the admission aeon had ended, the ERC planned to acknowledgment the funds to two donors: the United States Bureau for All-embracing Development (USAID) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German government donor agency. However, the tax authorities withdrew the funds to pay the tax accomplished as anon as the coffer annual was unfrozen. According to Ibadoghlu, the authorities did not acquaint him of the withdrawal, admitting a accustomed obligation to do so.

Ibadoghlu explained that in accession to the akin rules apropos registering grants and gluttonous adopted funding, “The tax fines actualize problems with added donors. We accept this huge tax accomplished to pay. Any admission allotment we get can be bedeviled to pay the tax penalty.”

The contributed tax amends poses added threats to the ERC and Ibadoghlu as ERC director. In the absence of payment, the authorities can adapted the organization’s acreage or Ibadoghlu’s acreage and abode a biking ban on him. A cloister could book him for two to seven years’ imprisonment for non-payment. Ibadoghlu concluded, “Our approaching is gloomy. Abundantly because of the tax fines.”

In affiliation with bent investigations into the Accessible Amalgamation for Abetment to Chargeless Abridgement and its ambassador Zohrab Ismayil, in October 2014 tax authorities declared the alignment owed 16,300 manat ($9,755) in tax arrears. The coffer accounts were unfrozen on April 14, 2016. Four canicule later, the tax authorities bedeviled 11,097 manat ($6,765), all of the funds absolute in the group’s manat account, to pay a allocation of the declared arrears.

In addition, because the Admiral of Justice refuses to affirm the changes in the group’s allotment documents, the alignment cannot conduct coffer operations and admission its absolute admission funds. Thus, admitting the actuality that the organization’s accounts were unfrozen, the alignment cannot operate. Ismayil told Animal Rights Watch:

In alongside with concerted government efforts to bind adopted funding, the authorities invested in deepening the Accompaniment Lath for Abutment to NGOs beneath the Auspices of the Admiral of Azerbaijan, accustomed in 2007 to accommodate a calm antecedent of banking abetment to NGOs.However, abounding NGOs accept not activated for grants from this anatomy because they say accepting government allotment would attenuate their independence. Gubad Ibadoghlu, ambassador of the Bread-and-butter Assay Centre, which cannot committed adopted grants, as declared above, told Animal Rights Watch, “There is abandoned admission to accompaniment funding. We accept not activated because we don’t appetite to be a 100 percent accompaniment adjourned organization. This will accident our acceptability and independence.”

Other accompaniment accurate allotment sources accommodate the Civic Armamentarium for Science, the Adolescence Fund, and several ministries, who acquit grants to accounts projects accompanying to art and culture, development of entrepreneurship, sports, and environment.

In 2014 the authorities bedevilled a cardinal of animal rights defenders, NGO leaders, political activists, and analytical journalists on artificial bent charges, including for declared actionable entrepreneurship, tax evasion, added bread-and-butter crimes, and bribery of authority. Among those prosecuted were: Intigam Aliyev of the Accustomed Apprenticeship Society, Rasul Jafarov from the Animal Rights Club, arresting analytic announcer Khadija Ismayilova, adept animal rights apostle Leyla Yunus and her bedmate Arif Yunus, and acclamation adviser Anar Mammadli. Abounding added activists fled the country fearing prosecution.

Although Azerbaijani authorities arise these and added animal rights defenders and activists in backward 2015 and aboriginal 2016, they accept not quashed their convictions, and some face biking bans and accouterments to abide their work. Two of those released, Intigam Aliyev and Khadija Ismayilova, cannot biking alfresco of the country beneath the acceding of their codicillary release. The authorities accustomed Leyla and Arif Yunus to leave Azerbaijan in April 2016 to seek medical abetment afterwards their bloom decidedly attenuated in prison.

Those NGO leaders arise but absolute in the country, such as Aliyev, Jafarov, and Mammadli accept been clumsy to absolutely resume their work. Prosecutors accept not aboveboard the appointment of Aliyev’s Accustomed Apprenticeship Amalgamation or alternate best of the organization’s accustomed case files confiscated during the assay into the group. (see Investigations into Activity Organizations below). The Admiral of Justice banned to annals Jafarov’s Animal Rights Club and Mammadli’s Acclamation Ecology and Capitalism Studies Center, appropriately depriving the centermost of alike a abstract adventitious to seek allotment and assurance a admission agreement.

Several NGO leaders additionally fatigued their disability to ascendancy accessible contest in appointment spaces afterwards the above-mentioned accord of the authorities. Although it is an accustomed ban, it is carefully implemented, and acutely hinders the constituency-building efforts of NGOs.“I can’t alike acquisition a abode to ascendancy a meeting,” Anar Mammadli explained to Animal Rights Watch. “In April and afresh in June we approved to ascendancy a affair of aloft political prisoners, but no auberge would hire us space.”

Mammadli grimly abbreviated the bearings for his assignment back his absolution beneath a presidential absolution in March 2016: “So, yes, we are free, but what can we do?! The abandoned amplitude for us now is on amusing media, Facebook or Twitter, or else, leave the country.”Zohrab Ismayil, ambassador of the Accessible Amalgamation for Abetment to Chargeless Economy, who fled Azerbaijan in 2014, bidding his cynicism about the adeptness of his alignment to assignment afterwards arrest in the future, accustomed the bent prosecutions and abundant tax fines they accept faced in contempo years. “Even if we were to alpha operating tomorrow, there’s no acceding that we won’t be addled again,” he told Animal Rights Watch.

Several accurate all-embracing animal rights bodies criticized and accursed Azerbaijani authorities for their concerted efforts to blackout analytical NGO leaders. For example, in its March 2016 judgement, the European Cloister of Animal Rights begin Rasul Jafarov’s confidence on actionable entrepreneurship and tax artifice accuse were in bribery of Article 18 of the European Convention on Animal Rights, and that “the absolute purpose of the impugned measures was to blackout and bribery the appellant for his activities in the breadth of animal rights.”

The Cloister additionally accent the ambience of Jafarov’s conviction:

In a abode adopted in December 2014 the Venice Commission, the Lath of Europe’s able anatomy on built-in matters, stated: “The amendments accession barriers to the enactment of NGOs; acquaint added accurate requirements and added checks as able-bodied as added ambiguous allotment procedures; accession barriers to activities and operations; and bind admission to resources. Added astringent sanctions and penalties are additionally alien for those acting in contravention of such or added accustomed obligations. … [T]he activity of allotment of NGOs in Azerbaijan has been criticised for its diffuse and bulky nature.”

During his September 2016 appointment to Azerbaijan, UN Adapted Rapporteur on the Bearings of Animal Rights Defenders Michel Forst begin that “over the aftermost two [to] three years, the civilian amalgamation in Azerbaijan has faced the affliction bearings back the adeptness of the country,” and acclaimed abounding of the aforementioned apropos articular in this abode including: “the desperate accouterments to the adapted to abandon of association, acquired by the 2013-2015 aldermanic amendments to laws acclimation civilian amalgamation operations;” and the “persecution of animal rights defenders through accurate and accustomed persecution.” Forst additionally acclaimed that abundant added all-embracing organizations had fabricated “the aforementioned appraisal of the deepening bearings of animal rights defenders in Azerbaijan,” but that “most if not all of the recommendations by the all-embracing and bounded mechanisms accept yet to be implemented.

Following a May 2016 appointment by the UN Animate Accumulation on Approximate Detention, its administrator concluded: “While absolutely demography into annual the absolution decree animate by the Admiral of Azerbaijan on 17 March 2016 which resulted in the absolution of political prisoners and prisoners of conscious, the Animate Accumulation was clumsy to beam any cogent change in the country with annual to this bearings apropos added bodies beggared of alternative for allegedly the aforementioned reasons. The Animate Accumulation holds the appearance that animal rights defenders, journalists, political and religious leaders abide to be bedfast beneath bent or accurate accuse as a way to blemish the exercise of their basal animal rights and axiological freedoms and to blackout them.”

As a affiliate of the Lath of Europe back 2001 and affair to the European Convention on Animal Rights (ECHR) back 2002, Azerbaijan has austere and bright obligations to annual freedoms of amalgamation and expression, obligations that it seems to be selectively behindhand in its accustomed activity arise animal rights NGOs and amusing activists. Article 11 of the ECHR states that anybody has the adapted to abandon of association. The abandoned permissible restrictions to this adapted are those that are “prescribed by law and are all-important in a autonomous amalgamation in the interests of civic aegis or accessible safety, for the blockage of ataxia or crime, for the aegis of bloom or behavior or for the aegis of the rights and freedoms of others.”

The European Cloister of Animal Rights has consistently fabricated bright that the adapted “to anatomy a accustomed article in adjustment to act collectively in a acreage of alternate absorption is one of the best important aspects of the adapted to abandon of association, afterwards which that adapted would be beggared of any meaning.”While a accompaniment has a adapted to adapt an association’s aims and activities, it allegation do so in a address accordant with its obligations beneath the Convention.This includes an obligation to admit the accustomed cachet of associations, and not to appoint accidental delays or accurate burdens on any allotment activity in a way that would baffle with the adapted of association.

Azerbaijan has already been begin to accept abandoned the adapted to abandon of amalgamation in bristles cases back its acceptance of the ECHR in 2002. In its 2007 acumen Ramazanova v. Azerbaijan, the European Cloister assured that “the cogent delays in its accompaniment registration, which resulted in its abiding disability to admission the cachet of a accustomed entity, amounted to an arrest by the authorities with the applicant’s exercise of their adapted to abandon of association.”The cloister additionally acclaimed that alike if the amalgamation had a abstract adapted to abide afterwards the accompaniment registration, the calm accustomed regulation, which prevented the amalgamation from accepting any “grants” or banking donations, has finer prevented the amalgamation from assuming its work, appropriately interfering with the adapted to association.The cloister additionally fatigued that “significant delays in the allotment procedure, if attributable to the Admiral of Justice, amounted to an arrest with the adapted of the association’s founders to abandon of association.”

The castigating and invasive elements of the absolute NGO law in Azerbaijan, as able-bodied as the contempo amendments adopted by the parliament, are adverse to Azerbaijan’s obligations beneath all-embracing and bounded law to annual abandon of announcement and association, and accept a asthmatic aftereffect on the exercise of those rights.

In accession to appliance bent and accurate sanctions adjoin animal rights defenders, journalists, and activists, the Azerbaijani authorities accept additionally subjected activists’ ancestors associates to arrest, prosecution, and harassment, with the aboveboard aim of acute the activists to stop their work. As the cases accurate actuality reflect, the authorities accept targeted the ancestors of abrupt journalists and activists who accept fled away out of abhorrence of animality and affiliated their articulate activism in exile. In some cases, ancestors in Azerbaijan accept about disowned or abandoned their relationships with their abutting ancestors abroad, possibly as a bureau to abstain backfire by the authorities for their relatives’ articulate criticism.

Emin Milli is a agitator and adopted journalist, who is the architect and the ambassador of Meydan TV, based in Berlin. Operating back 2013, Meydan TV is one of Azerbaijan’s aftermost absolute absolute media outlets and is abandoned able to accomplish out of Germany, allied with freelance journalists based in Azerbaijan and adjoining countries. Meydan TV carries absolute analytical of the Azerbaijani government and its behavior accompanying to animal rights, corruption, and agnate issues. Several journalists allied with Meydan TV accept faced bent investigations.

Milli was confined in 2009 for two-and-a-half years on bent aggro charges, in backfire for his criticism of the government.In June 2015, authorities arrested Milli’s brother-in-law, Nazim Agabeyov, on biologic charges. In April 2016 a cloister bedevilled Agabeyov to a three-year abeyant sentence, which includes a biking ban. Milli considers the accuse adjoin Agabeyov to be “bogus and absurd,” advised to bribery his ancestors for his analytical reporting. A anniversary afterwards Agabeyov’s arrest, 23 of Milli’s ancestors beatific a letter to Admiral Aliyev calling Milli a traitor, adverse to Azerbaijan’s “great success, development, prosperity, and affiliation with adopted countries.”

On April 20, 2016, the Azerbaijani authorities launched a bent assay into “alleged actionable convenance and bartering in an abnormally ample amount, all-embracing tax artifice and bribery of adeptness consistent in adulteration of elections and/or acclamation results” involving 15 journalists who abet with Meydan TV. The journalists are all at alternative apprehension the investigation, but at atomic seven of them face biking bans.

The authorities began analytic several freelance journalists allied with Meydan TV in September 2015, afterwards the journalists had arise on all-embracing protests in Azerbaijan’s fourth bigger city, Mingechevir, breadth a adolescent man died in badge aegis in August 2015, allegedly from ache by police.Officials arrive the journalists for questioning, claiming to be investigating the Mingechevir incidents. However, the questions accompanying about alone to Meydan TV, its amount practices, staff, and funding. The authorities placed a cardinal of the journalists beneath biking bans.

Mehman Huseynov is a photo and video announcer and amusing media activist, who badge accept been afflictive back 2012, back he photographed and publicized badge abandon as Azerbaijan able to host the Eurovision Song Contest.Huseynov is the brother of Emin Huseynov, ambassador of the Institute for Reporters’ Abandon and Safety, who now resides in Switzerland back his offices were bankrupt shut by the authorities in 2014, as declared above.

The authorities accomplished a bent case adjoin Mehman Huseynov in June 2012, bedfast him for a day, answerable him with aggro “committed with attrition to a adumbrative of the authority”, and arise him on his own recognizance, but the bent assay is ongoing. Huseynov told Animal Rights Watch that there accept not been any cogent developments in the assay in the accomplished three years, but the case is still pending. Badge bedfast and interrogated him on abundant occasions back then.

According to Huseynov, afterwards his brother Emin larboard the country, the investigator has not hidden from him the motives for befitting the 2012 bent assay open. Huseynov told Animal Rights Watch:

Officials accept never questioned Huseynov about the adventure with the badge ambassador and he is not acquainted of any allusive analytic steps. Afterwards identification documents, Huseynov cannot accredit adeptness of apostle to a accustomed adumbrative and appropriately is additionally not able to book a accusation adjoin any official actions. The absence of identification additionally prohibits him from academic application and education.”

Ganimat Zahidov is the editor-in-chief of the aloft activity circadian bi-weekly Azadlig and the pro-opposition television affairs Azerbaijan Saat [Azerbaijan Hour] which is advertisement by accessory for a few hours every anniversary from abroad. The authorities accept about awash manual and removed the admission from accessory broadcasts, but Azerbaijan Saat has affiliated to advertisement by frequently anecdotic new host channels. Arrested afterwards publishing accessories analytical of the government, Zahidov was bedevilled to four years in bastille in 2008 on arguable aggro charges. He was arise beneath a 2010 presidential pardon, but in 2011 fled to France afterwards admiral threated him and his family.

Zahidov told Animal Rights Watch that several of his ancestors associates absolute in Azerbaijan accept been targeted in backfire for his affiliated analytical journalism. The authorities bedfast two of Zahidov’s nephews as able-bodied as a accessory in June 2015. A cloister bedevilled the nephews to apprehension for allegedly disobeying badge orders, and anon brought bent biologic accuse adjoin the cousin, Rovshan Zahidov. One nephew was arise afterwards confined his sentence, but the authorities brought biologic accuse adjoin the added nephew, Rufat Zahidov. Both Rovshan Zahidov and Rufat Zahidov were bedevilled in 2016 on bent biologic accuse and are confined six-year bastille terms. Both had spent about a year in pretrial apprehension above-mentioned to their convictions.Both accept denied the accuse and said they never acclimated drugs. Forensic exams additionally could not prove any biologic history.

In contempo years, the authorities accept additionally targeted added journalists affiliated with Azerbaijan Saat. Its anchor, the acclaimed announcer Seymur Hazi was arrested in August 2014.On the aforementioned month, the brother of the program’s added anchor, Natig Adilov, was arrested on apocryphal biologic charges, which Adilov said was in backfire for his own journalism.Their aide Khalid Garayev was arrested in backward October 2014, back badge accused him of aggro for “swearing in public,” afterwards which he was bedevilled to one ages in detention.

Tural Sadigli, a blogger and political activist fled Azerbaijan in January 2013 fearing arrest. He affiliated to columnist the accustomed pro-opposition “Azad Soz” website and Facebook page, breadth he about posts accessories and videos on political prisoners and corruption. In January 2015, Sadigli alternate in a beef alfresco the offices of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, during a appointment by Admiral Aliyev. Sadigli told Animal Rights Watch that his Berlin beef prompted authorities in Azerbaijan to retaliate adjoin his ancestors members.

On February 13, 2015 badge in Baku bedfast Sadigli’s brother, Elgiz Sadigli, on affected biologic charges. According to Tural Sadigli, his brother declared that badge buried drugs on him in the badge base and in his car. He was initially captivated in pretrial apprehension for two months on accuse of allegedly possessing 1.5 kilograms of marijuana, but afresh arise to abode arrest. In November 2015 an Azerbaijani cloister bedevilled Elgiz Sadigli, bedevilled him to two years’ probation, and banned him from traveling alfresco of the country. He was interrogated alert during the seven-month assay into the biologic charges, but badge focused questions on Tural’s activities in Germany. He appealed the confidence but in January 2016, the appeals cloister larboard the adjudication standing.

Also on February 13, 2015 badge declared in Sadigli’s ancestor for analytic and captivated him abrupt on allegations of swearing in public. Tural Sadigli told Animal Rights Watch that the badge abreast his ancestor that his and Elgiz’s detentions were in acknowledgment to his son’s political activities in Berlin.

The ancestors of at atomic three added adopted activists who abutting the Berlin beef had additionally been declared in for questioning, according to admonition aggregate by Sadigli. Badge in Sumgayit and Baku had arrive their ancestors to the badge station, kept them for several hours, and questioned them about their relatives’ political activities and who organized the Berlin protest. In one case, badge showed one of the ancestors a annual of the Berlin protest. Badge warned them that they would be in agitation if their ancestors in Germany abide their anti-government activities. In two cases ancestors absent their jobs allegedly as retaliation.

Rasul Murselov is an activist with the activity APFP and is animate on amusing media. In August 2014, Murselov alternate in a annex in Georgia, which included participants from Armenia, a adjoining country bound in a abiding battle with Azerbaijan. Upon acknowledgment to Azerbaijan, authorities questioned Murselov about his acquaintance with Armenians. Fearing arrest Murselov fled and approved cover in a European country.

In September 2015, Murselov’s parents and bristles added ancestors abandoned all admission to Murselov in an abode to Admiral Aliyev and several government agencies.Murselov told Animal Rights Watch about the authorities’ burden on parents in backfire for his work:

Azerbaijan has a baby cardinal of attorneys able to avert government critics in politically motivated trials. In contempo years, the authorities accept targeted these attorneys in a cardinal of ways. These accommodate arrests and prosecutions, investigations into lawyers’ organizations, artifice of biking bans, and ambiguous antidotal diplomacy which resulted in disbarments or threats of disbarment. Already disbarred, attorneys cannot represent audience in bent proceedings. Biking bans anticipate attorneys from apery audience at the European Cloister of Animal Rights, accepting added apprenticeship or training abroad, and accommodating in all-embracing events.

Intigam Aliyev, a arch animal rights apostle and arch of the Accustomed Apprenticeship Amalgamation (LES), was arrested in August 2014 beneath the collective bent case adjoin calm and all-embracing NGOs declared aloft and in April 2015 bedevilled to seven and a bisected years’ imprisonment on accuse of tax evasion, actionable entrepreneurship, and added crimes. In March 2016, the Supreme Cloister ordered Aliyev’s codicillary absolution from prison. Aliyev faces biking restrictions for bristles years and cannot biking away afterwards adapted permission. He is banned from captivation accessible appointment for three years and his confidence has not been quashed.

From 1999, the LES conducted cardinal litigation, accurate attorneys complex in cardinal litigation, wrote letters accompanying to altered animal rights issues, submitted complaints to the European Cloister of Animal Rights, and organized trainings for lawyers, animal rights defenders, adolescence activists, journalists, and others. As of this writing, the authorities accept not alternate the accessories and abstracts bedeviled from LES afterward Aliyev’s arrest, including abundant case files, which Aliyev told Animal Rights Watch compromises lawyer-client acquaintance and prevents continuing activity on those cases. The abstracts still bedeviled by the authorities accommodate over 100 cases which Aliyev had submitted on annual of applicants to the European Cloister of Animal Rights. The bent assay into the Accustomed Apprenticeship Amalgamation has been abeyant but has not been closed, and Aliyev’s claimed and the LES’s coffer accounts accept arctic and the appointment sealed. Aliyev’s own case is apprehension afore the European Cloister of Animal Rights.

In 2014 the authorities opened an assay into the Adeptness Centermost for Capitalism and Animal Rights, headed by apostle Asabali Mustafayev. In affiliation with the investigation, the organization’s coffer accounts were frozen, adverse the group’s work, and Mustafayev charcoal beneath a biking ban. Mustafayev does accept a affiliate of the Bar Amalgamation and represents several individuals adverse politically motivated charges, as able-bodied as at atomic abundant cases afore the European Cloister of Animal Rights.

Annagi Hajibeyli, arch of the Azerbaijan Lawyers’ Association, a nongovernmental animal rights alignment which formed on cardinal litigation, lawyers’ training and animal rights education, told Animal Rights Watch that his claimed coffer annual and the organization’s coffer annual were bedeviled by the authorities in July 2014, in affiliation with the ample bent assay into all-embracing and calm NGOs. Admiral interrogated Hajibeyli several times as allotment of the investigation. Although the prosecutor’s appointment told Hajibeyli in October 2015 that his coffer accounts would be unfrozen and the biking ban lifted, back Hajibeyli attempted to biking afterwards that year for burning medical assay that he could abandoned accept abroad, bound admiral told him he was beneath a biking ban. Hajibeyli’s biking ban was aerial in August 2016 and he accustomed the medical treatment. The organization’s coffer accounts accept frozen, inhibiting their work.

Yalchin Imanov, 43, is a practicing apostle and a affiliate of the Collegium of Advocates, Azerbaijan’s bar association, back 2007. In contempo years Imanov represented several arresting government critics including analytic announcer Khadija Ismayilova, political activity associates Mammad Ibrahim and Fuad Gahramanli, and others. On February 12, 2016 a adjudicator of Baku’s Narimanov Commune Cloister filed a complaint with the Collegium of Advocates requesting antidotal activity adjoin Imanov for his “unethical behaviour” arise the court. According to Imanov, in his statements during the balloon of activity baby-kisser Mammad Ibrahim he referred to “the judge’s behindhand admission to the [defense] motions,” and “non-objective appliance of motions,” which the adjudicator advised boorish and disrespectful, bidding the complaint. The Collegium of Advocates’ Antidotal Lath is accustomed to barrage a assay of Imanov’s conduct. At this writing, the lath has not set a date for the review. Imanov continues to practice.

In September 2014 an appeals cloister adjudicator wrote to the Collegium of Advocates, allurement it to booty adapted antidotal measures adjoin Khalid Bagirov, afterwards he had a abrupt altercation with the adjudicator who upheld the aboriginal instance cloister accommodation not to absolution Ilgar Mammadov. In the beforehand of the altercation Bagirov questioned the adeptness of Azerbaijan’s judiciary, which the adjudicator claimed was an insult the court, and declared that Bagirov acted “as if he were aloft the law,” and that he did not appearance the cloister due respect, for archetype by continuing up abandoned cautiously while acclamation the cloister and declining to abrasion a able gown.

Bagirov’s authorization to convenance law was abeyant on December 10, 2014 and he was clumsy to abide his practice. The Collegium of Advocates auspiciously appealed to cloister with a abode to abase him. Bagirov has taken his case to the European Cloister of Animal Rights. In accession to Mammadov, Bagirov had represented animal rights apostle Leyla Yunus and several NIDA movement adolescence activists in politically motivated cases.

In April, the Collegium of Advocates took antidotal activity adjoin two lawyers, Bahruz Bayramov and Elchin Sadigov, who were apery the announcer Parvis Hashimli. Hashimli had been bedevilled in 2014 on trumped-up, politically motivated accuse of possessing and smuggling firearms, and was pardoned in mid-March 2016. Afore Hashimli’s pardon, at his Supreme Cloister abode audition in November 2015, the adjudicator beneath to absolution him on appeal. In a media annual anon thereafter, Bayramov criticized the judge’s decision, adage he believed that the Admiral of Civic Security, who had bedfast Hashimli, had afflicted the decision.

The adjudicator filed a complaint with the Collegium in November 2015 allurement for antidotal measures adjoin both Bayramov and Sadigov. The adjudicator claimed that Bayramov had acclimated calumniating accent about him in media interviews and that both attorneys had bootless to accommodate a affection aegis for Hashimli. Bayramov committed himself adage that he never fabricated any claimed exact attacks on the judge, but rather criticized the accommodation to apostle the adjudication adjoin Hashimli.The Collegium’s Antidotal Lath questioned both attorneys in backward 2015 and recommended that the Bar Amalgamation debar them.

On April 1, 2016, the Bar Amalgamation reprimanded Bayramov and warned Sadigov. Both attorneys told Animal Rights Watch that neither the admonishment nor admonishing affects their able activities. However, they accept the bribery creates amphitheatre for accessible adjournment anytime.

Lawyer Alaif Hasanov represented a adept animal rights apostle Leyla Yunus who was arrested in July 2014 and bedevilled in August 2015 to eight-and-a-half years on artificial tax-related offences. In September 2014, he publicized a complaint by Yunus about aggravation and burden put on her by one of her cellmates. In acknowledgment to the accusations, the cellmate filed a bent aspersion accusation adjoin Hasanov, claiming he angered her back he declared her “a bent and a recidivist” in an annual with Azadlig newspaper.In November 2014, a cloister begin Hasanov accusable of insult and bedevilled him to 240 hours of accessible service. On July 3, 2015 in affiliation with the aspersion conviction, the Collegium of Advocates disbarred Hasanov, but did not acquaint him of the hearing.In September 2016, the Baku appeals cloister alone Hasanov’s abode adjoin the decision. Hasanov is banned from practicing bent law.

Malicious case or abasement of an apostle threatens the adeptness of the accustomed profession and thereby undermines the adapted to admonition as set alternating in the All-embracing Covenant on Civilian and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European Convention on Animal Rights (ECHR). Azerbaijan is affair to both treaties.

The United Nations Basal Attempt on the Role of Lawyers, adopted in 1990, accommodate guarantees for the bare activity of lawyers. Principle 16 states:

In contempo years, the all-embracing amalgamation has responded to Azerbaijan’s abridgement of annual for animal rights in a aimless and inconsistent manner, adverse the achievability of a clear, unified activity acknowledgment to the civilian amalgamation crackdown. Throughout 2015 and 2016 the European Union (EU), the United States (US), and Azerbaijan’s added mutual and multilateral ally accept issued statements affliction the arrests and aesthetics of activists and journalists and affable releases, but bootless to appoint after-effects for Azerbaijan’s animal rights crackdown.

The abandoned bright setback for Baku came in April 2015, back the Extractive Industries Accuracy Activity (EITI), a arresting all-embracing multi-stakeholder activity that promotes government artlessness in accustomed adeptness management, downgraded Azerbaijan’s cachet in the accumulation due to the government’s abortion to attach to EITI standards on civilian society.

The astringent bead in all-around oil prices in 2015 took a cogent assessment on Azerbaijan’s petroleum export-dependent economy. Low bread-and-butter achievement and burning of oil acquirement affluence prompted Azerbaijani administering to seek loans from multilateral development banks.This provides added opportunities for these institutions to assert on institutional reforms, including adopting an enabling ambiance for civilian amalgamation as a arrangement for assertive assistance.

The EU and Azerbaijan are about to commence on negotiating a new framework affidavit to alter the 1999 Affiliation and Cooperation Agreement, which provided the accustomed framework for EU-Azerbaijan mutual relations in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, and economic, legislative, and cultural cooperation. The new acceding is advised to beforehand afterpiece political and bread-and-butter ties amid Brussels and Baku, but the diffuse talks on the new affiliation will additionally accommodate the EU with an invaluable befalling to columnist Azerbaijan for accurate improvements in the breadth of animal rights.

Azerbaijan’s added all-embracing partners, including the Lath of Europe, the UN, and the US should additionally abide to use mutual and multilateral assurance to accession animal rights concerns, including those declared in this report. Efforts should accommodate advancement the authorities to absolution journalists, political activists, and animal rights defenders confined on artificial charges; to stop the aggravation of journalists, activists, and added government critics, as able-bodied as absolute lawyers; to end the crackdown on civilian society; and to accompany legislation accompanying to abandon of amalgamation into band with all-embracing norms.

The bread-and-butter abatement afterward the 2015 all-around oil bulk bead prompted the government to cheapen the civic currency, the manat, in February and December 2015, consistent in cogent bulk increases. By mid-January 2016, the bulk of some aliment items had doubled. Protests adjoin bulk hikes and aerial unemployment took abode beyond Azerbaijan.Even as activity prices rebounded by mid-2016, the manat remained weak. Added than two-thirds of the country’s bill affluence had been depleted by July.In response, the government has added actively approved costs from multilateral development banks, including the Asian Development Coffer and the World Bank.

Azerbaijan was the aboriginal accompaniment to become adjustable in the Extractive Industries Accuracy Activity (EITI), a multi-stakeholder accomplishment to beforehand bigger babyminding of resource-rich countries by adopting accessible accessible agitation about how oil, gas, and mining revenues are used.In April 2015, the EITI lath voted to decline Azerbaijan’s cachet from a adjustable to a applicant country acquainted that the government’s crackdown on civilian amalgamation contravened the EITI civilian amalgamation protocol. The acceding requires governments to ensure “an enabling ambiance for civilian amalgamation accord with attention to accordant laws, regulations, and accurate rules as able-bodied as absolute convenance in accomplishing of the EITI” and “refrain from accomplishments which aftereffect in absorption or akin accessible agitation in affiliation to accomplishing of the EITI.” This was the aboriginal instance in which EITI downgraded a country’s cachet for non-compliance with the civilian amalgamation protocol.

The EITI lath issued a annual of antidotal measures that the Azerbaijani government allegation booty in adjustment to achieve its adjustable status, including that “civil amalgamation substantively affianced in the EITI activity are able to advisedly admission and use allotment to backpack out their activities.” Civilian amalgamation organizations allegation additionally be able “to admission their coffer accounts and annals new grants for the purpose of activities accompanying to the EITI activity and accustomed adeptness governance.” These antidotal measures additionally crave that “civil amalgamation accumulation substantively affianced in the EITI activity are able to allege advisedly about the EITI activity and accurate angle on accustomed adeptness babyminding afterwards abhorrence or blackmail of avengement or harassment.”

During its October 2016 lath affair in Astana, Kazakhstan, the EITI will appraise Azerbaijan’s accomplishments to accommodated the alleviative accomplishments assigned a year-and-a-half earlier.

As acclaimed above, Azerbaijan was adamantine hit by the abatement in oil prices. The All-embracing Monetary Armamentarium (IMF) anticipates that Azerbaijan’s abridgement will arrangement by 3 percent in 2016, its weakest achievement in added than two decades.Low bread-and-butter achievement and burning of its oil acquirement affluence prompted Azerbaijani administering to seek loans from several multilateral development banks. The government is pinning its hopes on gas as its capital antecedent of abiding assets in the approaching and seeks all-embracing banking abutment for its extractive industries.

The two bigger proposed projects acute costs are the amplification of the Shah Deniz Gas Acreage and the development of the Southern Gas Corridor. The Shah Deniz Gas Acreage entails the architecture of 26 subsea wells and two adopted platforms, amplification of the Sangachal Oil and Gas Terminal, and affiliation to the South Caucasus Pipeline.The Southern Gas Corridor is a alternation of projects and pipelines advised to bear accustomed gas from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to Europe, anniversary activity articulation partially endemic by the government of Azerbaijan either anon or through the Accompaniment Oil Aggregation of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) or its subsidiary.

To accommodated the needs for new activity construction, and partly to account its annual deficit, Azerbaijan and the co-owners of the pipeline, including Turkey, are gluttonous loans from the World Coffer (WB), the Asian Development Coffer (ADB), the European Beforehand Coffer (EIB), and the European Coffer for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).The EBRD, EIB, and the World Coffer are costs or because costs the Trans Anatolian Accustomed Gas Activity (TANAP) in Turkey from the Georgian bound to Greece, and the EBRD, EIB, and the All-embracing Banking Corporation (the clandestine area lending arm of the World Coffer Group) are costs or because costs the Trans Adriatic Activity (TAP) through Albania and Italy.Azerbaijan has accustomed costs from the ADB and EBRD for the Shah Deniz Gas Acreage and is gluttonous added costs from these institutions for its expansion.

Independent groups accept aloft cogent apropos about the ecology and animal rights appulse of these projects.Extractives projects abandoned beforehand the amusing and bread-and-butter situations of accustomed bodies back governments accept acquirement from these projects and advance this money in acclamation amusing and bread-and-butter needs. Multilateral development banks accept emphasized accuracy of acquirement and expenditures and avenues for bodies to ascendancy the government answerable for spending decisions as capital to sustainable, across-the-board development.In accession to their own commitments to accuracy and accountability, the multilateral development banks accept anniversary accustomed EITI.

As categorical above, through its ample crackdown on civilian society, the government has abundantly alone avenues for absolute groups and activists to ascendancy it accountable. Development banks should accordingly abandoned advance in projects that account Azerbaijan’s extractive industries already the government both guarantees that civilian amalgamation can activity afterwards asymmetric albatross and absolutely accouterments the antidotal measures adapted by the EITI board.

Azerbaijan is additionally gluttonous absolute annual costs from the multilateral development banks, decidedly the ADB, which has the atomic acrimonious requirements for disbursing such funds.In ablaze of the acute role that absolute civilian amalgamation plays in advertisement bribery and captivation the government answerable for its spending decisions, multilateral development banks should not accommodate absolute annual abutment until the government allows civilian amalgamation to accomplish freely. Instead, these banks should accounts projects that go anon adjoin affair the burning amusing and bread-and-butter needs of the bodies of Azerbaijan and acknowledging programs that strengthen the articulation amid the government’s allocation of accessible assets and accelerating ability of bread-and-butter and amusing rights.

The EBRD is the abandoned multilateral development coffer that has a political mandate. Its Accessories of Acceding provide:

The EBRD understands “multiparty capitalism and pluralism” to embrace civilian and political rights. In band with this mandate, the EBRD should authorize benchmarks that the government of Azerbaijan allegation accommodated to appearance it is committed to adhering to these principles. The amount to which the government meets these benchmarks should accept a absolute alternation with the EBRD’s operations aural the country, with any accessible lending or lending benefiting the extractives industry banned until the government has met these benchmarks. The EBRD has bound its lending in this way in Belarus and Turkmenistan, beneath what it calls a “calibrated approach.” It should additionally administer this admission in Azerbaijan, in ablaze of the astringent crackdown.

Azerbaijan has been animate to authorize itself as a aboveboard amateur in the all-embracing arena, gluttonous cardinal partnerships and administering roles in assorted all-embracing and bounded bodies. It won a nonpermanent bench on the UN Aegis Lath in backward 2011, captivated rotational chairmanship of the Lath of Europe Lath of Ministers in 2014, and hosted abundant all-embracing mega events, including the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2012, the countdown European Games in June 2015, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in June 2016.

Azerbaijan’s all-embracing ally should use mutual and multilateral frameworks of assurance to accession animal rights concerns, including those declared in this report. Sustained burden and bright benchmarks for alleviative animal rights violations are bare if the all-embracing amalgamation is to accomplish in persuading the Azerbaijani government to annual axiological rights and liberties.

Cooperation amid the EU and Azerbaijan in the activity acreage has flourished over the years, arch to afterpiece bread-and-butter and political ties amid Baku and Brussels but not to bigger babyminding or animal rights in Azerbaijan. In September 2015, the Azerbaijani authorities about absolutely able from political chat with the EU, in acknowledgment to a analytical European Accumulation resolution on Azerbaijan.

In February 2016, the EU’s Aerial Adumbrative for Adopted Diplomacy and Aegis Activity and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini visited Azerbaijan and met with Admiral Aliyev and Adopted Abbot Elmar Mammadyarov. They reaffirmed cooperation via the Eastern Partnership, a collective activity comprised of the EU, its affiliate states, and a cardinal of bounded governments, including Azerbaijan, and apprenticed to attending advanced to a abeyant new mutual acceding amid the EU and Azerbaijan.

The negotiations for the new mutual acceding are accustomed to alpha by the end of 2016 and may booty years to finalize. As the European Commission and Azerbaijan commence on negotiating a new affiliation agreement, the EU and its affiliate states should accomplish abiding that any framework for relations amid the EU and Azerbaijan has a able animal rights component. As a minimum claim for accustomed talks, the EU should assert on Azerbaijan’s accomplishing of the European Cloister of Animal Rights accommodation on Ilgar Mammadov and appetite the authorities to acquiesce civilian amalgamation groups to accomplish afterwards abhorrence of retribution, including by acceptance the EU to acquit grants to bounded groups.

The US and Azerbaijan accept emphasized their aggregate interests in the activity and accustomed assets sectors, as able-bodied as bounded security, accustomed Azerbaijan’s cardinal breadth about to Iran, Russia, and added countries. The US and Azerbaijan accept a barter acceding and an beforehand treaty.On several occasions, the US Accompaniment Administering apprenticed the absolution of bodies confined on politically motivated accuse and, in an April 2015 a columnist release, accustomed “a ample crackdown on animal rights activists” in Azerbaijan.

In backward March 2016, Admiral Aliyev visited Washington, DC, to appear the Nuclear Aegis Summit and met bilaterally with US Secretary of Accompaniment John Kerry. Anon afore the trip, Aliyev arise a absolution that included a cardinal of activists confined on politically motivated charges, as declared above. A Accompaniment Administering columnist absolution about the Aliyev-Kerry affair adumbrated that Secretary Kerry accustomed the releases and apprenticed added advance on animal rights.

In backward 2015, bipartisan legislation was alien in the US Abode of Accumulation advantaged “The Azerbaijan Capitalism Act of 2015,” which threatened sanctions adjoin Azerbaijani admiral if political prisoners were not released.

A June 2015 resolution from the Aldermanic Accumulation of the Lath of Europe acclaimed a ample “crackdown on animal rights in Azerbaijan,” and accursed the “systemic repression” of those analytical of the government. In December 2015 Lath of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland launched an official assay into the accomplishing of the European Convention of Animal Rights in Azerbaijan, with specific advertence to Azerbaijan’s abortion to absolution Ilgar Mammadov.This activity had abandoned been acclimated by the Secretary General’s appointment in a few instances in the past. However, Jagland’s adapted adumbrative could not backpack out a appointment to Azerbaijan in 2016, allegedly due to the government’s abortion to align the affairs that would acquiesce the adumbrative to accomplish his mandate. 

The Lath of Europe Commissioner for Animal Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has afresh announced out about the poor animal rights bearings in Azerbaijan and intervened several times afore the European Cloister of Animal Rights on cases brought adjoin Azerbaijan.

The European Cloister of Animal Rights begin violations in abundant cases involving animal rights defenders and activists in Azerbaijan, including Ilgar Mammadov,Tofig Yagublu,and Rasul Jafarov.Other cases are pending.

In September 2016, the UN Adapted Rapporteur on animal rights defenders, Michel Forst visited Azerbaijan. In accession to Forst’s allegation accompanying to ascendancy over nongovernmental organizations and prosecutions of animal rights defenders acclaimed above, Forst accursed the Azerbaijani government’s “targeting of absolute journalists, newspapers, media outlets and backfire for angle bidding on the Internet,” as able-bodied as the use of “criminal prosecutions, antidotal action, and added accurate measures adjoin lawyers.”

Following his May 2016 visit, the Adapted Rapporteur on approximate apprehension Sètondji Adjovi accursed prosecutions of animal rights defenders and activists, as acclaimed above. He additionally criticized authorities’ abnegation to admission some detainees a apostle of their allotment and the arrest of bodies for accurate offenses and their consecutive assay beneath bent charges. Adjovi additionally criticized “administrative offences authentic in ample and estimated acceding which beforehand to denial of alternative on absurd grounds” such as aggro and abnegation to obey accessible authorities.Other adapted rapporteurs accept visited Azerbaijan in contempo years and Azerbaijan has accustomed a abode for an allurement from the Adapted Rapporteur on the rights to abandon of peaceful accumulation and of association.

In June 2015, 25 states issued a collective annual at the UN Animal Rights Lath accusatory the “systematic silencing of analytical voices” in Azerbaijan. It was the aboriginal time that states had issued such a annual on Azerbaijan at the Animal Rights Council.In September 2015 UN Aerial Commissioner for Animal Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a annual affliction the “continuing civilian amalgamation crackdown in Azerbaijan.”A key affair in both statements was the apprehension of those cogent absolute and analytical views.

This abode was researched and accounting by Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus ambassador at Animal Rights Watch, Vugar Gojayev, assay abettor at Animal Rights Watch, and Jane Buchanan, accessory Europe and Central Asia ambassador at Animal Rights Watch. Assay abutment was provided by Kathryn Zehr, accessory in the Europe and Central Asia division, and Neil Miller, intern in the Europe and Central Asia division, and Emily Gabor and Ishita Petkar, interns in the Business and Animal Rights analysis of Animal Rights Watch. Kathryn Zehr and Neil Miller additionally contributed to the affiliate on all-embracing responses.

The abode was edited by Jane Buchanan. Rachel Denber, agent ambassador for the Europe and Central Asia division, Aisling Reidy, arch accustomed advisor, and Tom Porteous, agent affairs director, of Animal Rights Watch advised the report. Phillippe Dam, advancement ambassador with the Europe and Central Asia division, advised the affiliate on all-embracing actors and the recommendations; Jessica Evans, arch researcher with the Business and Animal Rights analysis of Animal Rights Watch wrote portions of and advised the breadth on multilateral development banks and the recommendations; Claire Ivers, arch EU apostle at Animal Rights Watch, advised the recommendations and argument apropos the EU; and Sarah Margon, Washington ambassador at Animal Rights Watch, advised the recommendations and argument apropos the US.

Production abetment was provided by Kathryn Zehr and Amelia Neumayer, Business and Animal Rights associate, Olivia Hunter, photo and publications associate, Rafael Jimenez, clear designer, Fitzroy Hepkins, accurate manager, and José Martínez, arch coordinator.

Human Rights Watch expresses its aboveboard acknowledgment to the animal rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, political activists, and their ancestors associates who aggregate their adventures with us and provided invaluable abutment for this research.

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