, an Azerbaijani journalist, says that he has received death threats from the Ministry of National Security. On November 19, Abbasov posted on Facebook that he had been threatened with arrests and death. The 19-year-old student says that the Azerbaijani government is pressuring him into becoming a “pro-government journalist.”
“Although I was released, the pressure on me hasn’t stopped. All I do now is attend the university. However, the “Bantotdel” and the Ministry of National Security have threatened me with possible arrests and death,” Abbasov’s Facebook post read. “The reason for this is that my lawyer plans to take my illegal arrest to the European Court. They are forcing me to become a pro-government journalist.”
“They are pressuring my family to turn them against me,” Abbasov continued. “This has significantly worsened my relationship with my family members. Although I haven’t done anything illegal, they continue to violate my rights.”
“As a citizen and a journalist, I am unable to restore my violated rights,” Abbasov concluded.
Pressure against journalists’ family members is not uncommon in Azerbaijan and has been used by the authorities to harass Meydan TV journalists, according to rights groups. Earlier, Meydan TV editor Gunel Movlud’s mother renounced her following the arrests of Movlud’s brothers.
Abbasov, who has collaborated with Meydan TV, was arrested on September 16 and sentenced to administrative detention for disobeying the police. He had spent nearly 30 hours in custody before being sentenced. He was reportedly held at Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime. Human rights groups condemned Abbasov’s arrest as politically motivated in connection with Meydan TV.