African Women Voices

Will the Next Spring Take Place in Azerbaijan?

European representatives in Azerbaijan said they are concerned about the human rights situation in the country, where peaceful demonstrators were arrested last month.

On January 26, one hundred people protested against the government in Baku, Azerbaijan capital city. They were asking for the resignation of the president Ilham Aliyev, following a police teargas attack on protesters in the city of Ismayilli. Located 200 Km  Northwest Baku the town was the theatre of a demonstration against a local governor.

In Baku, the police arrested 40 activists. Among them were human rights defenders such as the  blogger Emin Milli, Rafto Price laureate of 2009 Malahat Nasibova, human rights lawyer Intigam Alieyev, and the  investigative journalist and Fritt Ord Foundation / ZEIT Foundation award winner of 2012 Khadija Ismayilova.

Arrest of human rights defender, Intigam Alievey and Malahat Nasibova on Saturday 26 January 2013. (© IRFS, 2013)

Strategically placed in a hotspot, between Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Iran and Georgia, Azerbaijan is part of the Council of Europe which aims to defend human rights in the 47 countries that signed up to it. However, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) committee monitoring representors, said they are worried about the law making process in Azerbaijan and the detention of protesters. On February 6, they released a statement saying:

We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to review the cases of protesters and activists detained when demonstrating peacefully, and after trials whose conformity with human rights standards has been called into question by civil society and the international community

The exact number of the protesters arrested is uncertain, but the Council of Europe says of the protesters taken into custody, thirty were charged and five sent to prison where they might have faced torture.


This is not the first time the country raises against the current government.

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