Around 61 people, 21 of them children, have been deported from Germany to Azerbaijan, a move that stirred a debate around the main opposition party Musavat which alleges it is involved in illegal human trafficking and migration fraud.
According to the State Migration Service, the return of Azerbaijanis is based on the agreement on readmission of people with unauthorized stay between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the European Union. The sixty-one were sent to the capital city of Baku on a charter flight from Germany.
“Of these 22 are men, 18 are women and 21 are children,” the State Migration Service stated on November 14.
Reportedly those deported had been seeking asylum; their identities have not yet been released.
German media reported on November 13 that Azerbaijanis suspected of smuggling migrants to Germany had been detained. According to the report, the detained people received € 3000-10.000 in return and at least 20 people have been smuggled from Azerbaijan to Germany so far.
While their identites were unknown, the family of Alovsat Aliyev, the head of the Legat Integration Center, has confirmed that Aliyev is among those detained. His brother Sabir Rustamkhanli told RFE/RL that Aliyev is still being held as a suspect by German security forces.
The Azerbaijani embassy to Germany refused to comment on the returned and detained Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva told RFE/RL that Baku is aware of the fraud migration and detention of Azerbaijani citizens.
“It is regrettable that these men, who claim to be political immigrants, are detained on suspicion of such activities,” Abdullayeva was quoted as saying.
Meydan TVs social media manager Habib Abdullayev said the number of those deported from Germany exceeds 100 and opposition Musavat party high-ranking members are among those detained.
Musavat Party leader Arif Hajili told RFE/RL that he is certain the German law enforcement agencies will deal with the issue fairly and that if anyone from the party is revealed to be a real suspect, the party will take measures accordingly. He also said it is appropriate to wait for the outcome of the investigation.
Koblenz City Police Department told the Azerbaijani Youtube Channel “Let’s talk straight" that it cannot disclose the name of those arrested under the law.