Azerbaijani citizen Elnur Mehdiyev, who has allegedly been affiliated with the Muslim Unity Movement, is supposed to be extradited from Turkey to Baku at the request of the Azerbaijani government, according to Mehdiyev’s family.
"Elnur was detained in Turkey on the order of the Azerbaijani authorities. Most likely, they will hand him over to Baku”, Mehdiyev’s family told Meydan TV adding, “We believe the main reason for his detention is helping out the families of convicted prisoners of the Nardaran case".
Nearly three and a half years have passed since the Nardaran incident erupted after security forces launched an operation in the Baku’s Nardaran village and arrested the movement’s chair Taleh Bagirzada and 16 other members. The Ministry of the Interior stated the aim of the arrests were to neutralize “the criminal group functioning under the umbrella of religion and planning to commit terror acts”. The Muslim Unity Movement members were sent to long prison terms with a trial that did not meet international standards, according to the Amnesty International statement.
The members’ arrests are still in progress. Mehdiyev, one more member of the movement, was detained in Turkey on April 24. He was sent to the Göç Deportation office, his lawyer in Turkey was quoted as saying by his family members in Baku.
According to the family members Mehdiyev’s deportation and arrest for the Nardaran case is illegal since he was not ben in the country when the incident broke out.
"Elnur was in Karbala back then. We were told that an investigation has been launched about him, even though he is not guilty of anything. Therefore, he decided not to return to Azerbaijan and instead went to Turkey”.
His arrest comes nearly a month after another member of the Muslim Unity Movement, Anar Jabbarov, was detained in Istanbul and deported to Azerbaijan. He was arrested at the Baku international airport by the national security forces and kept for weeks at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Office for Combating Organized Crime, also known as ‘Bandhotel’ before he was set free with the terminated criminal code. It was alleged that he was a friend of Taleh Bagirzadeh, chairman of the Muslim Unity Movement, and helped the families of imprisoned members.
Mehdiyev’s lawyer has sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and heads of some other Turkish law-enforcement authorities to inform them about the danger his defendant might face upon the deportation to Azerbaijan. Turkey’s human rights defenders have also joined the protests urging not to hand Mehdiyev over to Azerbaijan, the family says.