Returning migrants: deported from Germany face arrests on drug charges

From more than thousand people deported from the European country to Azerbaijan, just four political activists were detained.

Deported from Germany, source: Thomas Ragina / shutterstock

Two Azerbaijani migrants deported from Germany were reportedly arrested on drug charges after arriving in the country this month.

Punhan Karimli and Jafar Mirzayev were detained by the Interior Ministry’s Main Drug Control Department and are accused of drug trafficking. Their family have denied the allegations, saying their arrest is politically motivated.

To date, four migrants deported from Germany have been arrested in Azerbaijan. Together with Karimli and Mirzayev, activists Malik Rzayev and Mutallim Orujo were detained in October last year.

All of them were involved in political activities while in Europe, including organization of protests regarding the situation of political prisoners, illegal arrests and torture in Azerbaijan.

Nemat Karimli, a lawyer defending three of the arrested people, said investigations are not being conducted in two of the cases. According to him, requests for transferring the detention to house arrest were not accepted and the detainee affirmed they were tortured. 

Journalist: “More than a thousand people deported from Germany to Azerbaijan”

Meydan TV spoke to Afghan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights defender living in Germany, about the deportation of Azerbaijani migrants from Germany. He told us that the processes have been postponed almost two years because of the pandemic but that it has recently begun again.

Deportations are carried out on the basis of a Readmission Agreement signed between the UN and the governments of Azerbaijan and Germany, Murkhtarli explains. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees oversees the repatriation program. He clarifies that, in many cases, the German Migration Service does not thoroughly investigate the cases of asylum seekers because apparently sources in Azerbaijan do not provide them with accurate information.

Afghan Mukhtarli, source: Meydan TV

The journalist said that more than a thousand people have been deported from Germany to Azerbaijan over the past few months, with four of them being arrested after deportation because of drug trafficking charges. He believes the Azerbaijani government is now punishing them for their political activity in Germany.

Afghan Mukhtarli added that Azerbaijanis who arrive in the country from abroad no longer need to quaratine, however, all deportees were forcibly quarantined in the Athletes’ Village. During this period, their activities in Germany were being investigated by the authorities in Azerbaijan. 

“The UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Baku is indifferent to this act of revenge”

Mukhtarli believes that 99% of those who migrated from Azerbaijan to Germany did not have political activity, but were in fact tired of social problems they faced in their home country. With those, he explains, the Azerbaijani government does not have any issues: they sign a term and then are let go. The problem are the ones who are politically active, to which Mukhtarli affirms the goverment is commiting an “act of revenge”. 

He adds that the Baku office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is indifferent to the case of deportation of political activists and does not offer any kind of help to them. The journalist says that he already repeatedly appealed to the Baku office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but received no response.

“We will appeal to the court in connection with the German Migration Service”

Afghan Mukhtarli affirms that the German government has demands from the Azerbaijani government regarding the persecuted people, because deportation is carried out with mutual consent of both countries.

However, he continues, Azerbaijan has made a commitment to both the German government and the UN that it will not persecute those who return. But even though on January 28, the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Kamran Aliyev visited German to meet with his counterpart and they agreed to sign a memorandum on migration, Germany remains on deporting people back to Azerbaijan.

According to Mukhtarli, Germany does not comply with the international conventions the country signed to protect politically active and threatened people from other countries. 

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