Azerbaijani authorities arrested a brother-in-law of Emin Milli, the Executive Director of Meydan TV, on July 23, 2015 on charges of selling drugs.
page, Milli wrote the following:
President Ilham Aliyev arrests brother of my wife. Time to act against Aliyevs.
The brother of my wife, Nazim Aghabayov (IT expert) is arrested and may end up spending up to 12 years in jail. He is charged with absurd and bogus accusations of selling drugs. It is wide spread practice of Aliyev-terror-regime by now. They are punishing the relatives, family members and take them as hostages.
Milli noted that his relative’s arrest came a few weeks after Milli received
from Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov. Immediately afterward, four employees of Meydan TV were banned from leaving Azerbaijan.
The executive director of Meydan TV, an independent Berlin-based news platform, however, vowed that the arrest would not affect his professional activities. “My father died while I was in jail. I spent 16 months in jail myself. My friends, journalists and human rights defenders could end up spending up to 19 years in jail. I had to endure many other threats personally and make many sacrifices that I have never talked about in public,” Milli’s Facebook post read.
Persecution of vocal anti-government activists’ relatives is common in Azerbaijan, where the government often employs charges of drug possession to stifle dissent, according to
On July 20, 2015, Rufat Zahidov, a nephew of opposition journalist
, was arrested in Baku and taken into custody for drug possession. Rufat could face up to 12 years in prison. Police also arrested Zahidov’s cousin Rovshan, who was sentenced to 25 days in administrative detention, and nephew Tural, who was sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention.