Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders Claim They Are Being Harassed in Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia. Foto: Efired/shutterstock

The leader and associates of the Institute for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms claim that they have been subjected to harassment in Georgia.

According to the appeal made by human rights defenders, Avtandil Mammadov, Nuran Ashurova, a member of the Committee for the Defense of Victims of Arbitrary Detention and Repression, and journalist Bahruz Aliyev, a member of the Independent Journalists Committee, have faced harassment from unknown individuals in Georgia.

It is reported that Samir Ashurov, the spouse of Nuran Ashurova, emigrated to Germany in 2018 due to harassment related to his political views. However, the Ashurov family was deported from Germany to Azerbaijan in 2022, and Samir Ashurov was arrested after their deportation.

The information states that Nuran Ashurova and other activists have faced harassment and threats in Azerbaijan due to their efforts in defending the rights of the Ashurov family and other individuals. As a result, she temporarily moved to Georgia. A few weeks after her arrival in Georgia, on October 15 at 12:30 PM, she was closely followed by an unknown person in her neighborhood.

In addition, on the same day, October 15, when Avtandil Mammadov was not at home, at 11:10 PM, the door of his family’s apartment was knocked on, causing fear among family members and young children.

When the incident occurred, Nuran Ashurova was present with young children at Avtandil Mammadov’s residence. A few minutes later, at 11:53 PM, Nuran Ashurova received a threat message from a fake profile on Facebook.

“On the night of October 15th to 16th, at 12:30 AM, the organization’s colleague, journalist Bahruz Aliyev, who had come to Georgia to escape harassment in Azerbaijan, was pursued in an ‘Opel’ car. At that time, an ‘Opel’ car was driven onto his path, but he managed to escape by fleeing to his temporary residence,” the information states.

Photo: “iprf-hrd”

Bahruz Aliyev had to leave Georgia on October 17 due to facing harassment.

Furthermore, on October 16 at 3:00 AM, Avtandil Mammadov, the leader of the Institute for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms, also received a threat message via Facebook.

Avtandil Mammadov stated that he had previously received threat messages from the same fake profile.

On the morning of October 17, at 8:30 AM, while Avtandil Mammadov’s spouse was taking their children to school, he was pursued by unknown individuals in a car. The person pursuing Avtandil Mammadov’s spouse and children followed them from their residence to the school.

Avtandil Mammadov had also represented several ECtHR cases related to Azerbaijan. He emigrated to Georgia in 2017 due to facing harassment in Azerbaijan.

It is reported that he faced harassment by unknown individuals in Georgia in 2018-2019. In 2019, he was detained in Georgia at Azerbaijan’s request and an attempt was made to extradite him to Azerbaijan.

Avtandil Mammadov is the founder and leader of the Institute for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms, established in 2018.

The Institute for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms operates in conjunction with the Committee for the Defense of Victims of Arbitrary Detention and Repression and the Independent Journalists Committee. Nuran Ashurova is the coordinator of the committee, and Bahruz Aliyev serves as the media coordinator for the institute.

This is not the first harassment of public and political figures in Georgia. In 2017, the deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), Gozel Bayramova, was arrested at the Azerbaijani border while returning to Georgia.

That same year, on May 29, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was living temporarily in Tbilisi, mysteriously disappeared, only to be arrested in Azerbaijan the following morning. It was revealed that he had been abducted while returning to his home in Azerbaijan.

In 2018, political activist Mehman Galandarov, upon returning from Georgia to Azerbaijan, was arrested and lost his life in detention.

In 2021, blogger Huseyn Bakixanov, who had reported being subjected to torture in Azerbaijan, died as a result of an incident that occurred upon his migration to Georgia.

Political activist and blogger Rashad Ramazanov was arrested in Azerbaijan after returning from Georgia in 2022.

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