Human rights advocates consider Mukhtarli to be ‘a prisoner of conscience’
Afgan Mukhtarli, a prominent Azerbaijani investigative journalist who was sentenced to six years in prison has been granted a two-day temporary provisional release to attend the memorial services for his next of kin.
The ’40th day after death’ ceremony is held in Afgan’s native village of Ashagi Tala, in Azerbaijan’s Zagatala province. The journalist’s sister and her two children were found dead at the end of December last year in Ashagi Tala with carbon monoxide poisoning as the official cause of death.
“I haven’t visited this place for over four years and I’ve never thought I would come here on such a mournful occasion. This family tragedy is a very painful experience,” Afgan Mukhtarli told the Caucasian Knot.
He once again termed the charges against him as a ‘setup’.
“I was abducted in Tbilisi and was secretly taken to Azerbaijan. The whole criminal case has been fabricated from start to end,” said Mukhhtarli.
He added that he was discontent with the course of the investigation into his abduction case.
Investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli was abducted in Tbilisi (where he’d lived since 2014) on 29 May 2017. He told his lawyer that he was abducted by the Georgian criminal police officers and taken to Baku.
On 12 January the Azerbaijani court sentenced Mukhtarli to six years in prison for trespassing the state border, smuggling and resisting arrest.
- On 15 June, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging the Azerbaijani government ‘to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against and release the investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli’.