Azerbaijani activist Aftandil Mammadov has been released on bail after he appeared in a Georgian court following his detention in Tbilisi earlier in the week based on an extradition request of the Azerbaijani government.
According to his family members, who spoke to independent Turan news agency on condition of anonymity, Mammadov was released on 3.000 lari ($ 1.200) bail for three months. During this period, Baku's request for Mammadov’s extradition will be investigated.
Mammadov was engaged in rights activities by providing assistance to the victims of the tightened civil society in the northern region of Azerbaijan. In 2017 he fled to Georgia and asked for political asylum there. In October 2018, he established a human rights organization called the Institute of Defense of Law and Freedom of Expression (HAMI) which is registered in Georgia and operates in Tbilisi. He also took an active part in the rallies staged for the defense of investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, who was kidnapped in Tbilisi and illegally brought to Azerbaijan in 2017.
Azerbaijani authorities reject any kind of repression of human rights defenders and civil society representatives in the country. They argue all fundamental freedoms are provided and protected.
Human rights activists contend Mammadov might follow the fate of Mukhtarli after he is extradited to Azerbaijan and may also be arrested in Baku.
Mukhtarli had held a residence permission in Georgia, yet on May 29, 2017, he was abducted in Tbilisi, tortured, and was forcefully taken to the border and handed over to the Azerbaijani side.
Officials in Baku claim he was kept in the territory of Azerbaijan while crossing the border, and was detained after he resisted law enforcement officers.
Mukhtarli has been sentenced to six years in prison for resisting government representatives, illegally crossing the border and smuggling.
The Georgian Prime Ministry and Ministry of Internal Affairs reject the involvement of the Georgian local authorities in Mukhtarli’s case.