Imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist receives prestigious international award
The European Union, as part of the Eastern Partnership Program, awarded the Pavel Sheremet Prize to Azerbaijani journalist, Afgan Mukhtarli.
The award ceremony was part of the Civil Society Conference taking place in Tallinn. The award was accepted by Leila Mustafayeva on behalf of her husband, who has been imprisoned in his homeland, Azerbaijan. The Russian and Belarusian investigative TV journalist, Pavel Sheremet, was killed in 2016. The investigation into his murder has not yet identified the perpetrators.
The Russian and Belarusian investigative TV journalist, Pavel Sheremet, was killed in 2016. The investigation into his murder has not yet identified the perpetrators.
At the ceremony, Leila Mustafayeva said that the arrest of her husband, Mukhtarli, is not just a problem for Azerbaijan but for others as well:
“Another country included in the ‘Eastern Partnership’ program is responsible for his kidnapping and arrest: Georgia,” said Mustafayeva.
In her opinion, it is necessary to demand not only the release of Afgan Mukhtarli, but also 160 other people that have been arrested in Azerbaijan for political reasons – among them, about ten journalists. “Europe shouldn’t avert its eyes from the trampling of human rights in Azerbaijan just because of its economic interests,” she said.
Leila Mustafayeva said that she would have liked to read a speech from her husband, but prison authorities seized the text. The Ukrainian radio station, Hromadske reported about this.
- Recently, Afgan Mukhtarli was living in Tbilisi where he did various journalistic investigations, including one into the business of the ruling family in Azerbaijan. In May of this year, Afgan Mukhtarli was kidnapped in the center of Tbilisi. Human rights activists are demanding that Georgia investigate the journalist’s kidnapping.
- After his abduction in which Georgian law enforcement is suspected to have participated, Mukhtarli was taken to Azerbaijan where he has been charged with smuggling and crossing the border illegally.