Azerbaijani political emigrant detained in Poland on charges of tax evasion released on bail
Azerbaijani opposition activist and political emigrant Dashgyn Agalarli, earlier detained by Interpol in Poland at the request of Azerbaijan for alleged tax evasion, has been released on bail.
The Caucasian Knot reports that Agalarli’s release was secured thanks to the intervention of human rights organizations, the Norwegian government and also thanks to the guarantee of a Polish citizen, whose name has not been made public.
Interpol detained Agalarli earlier on January 6 at the airport of the Polish city of Gdansk. Agalarli himself considers the accusation against him far-fetched and politically motivated.
Now, the Polish prosecutor’s office will investigate how well-founded the accusations of the Azerbaijani side are, and whether there are grounds for extradition of the activist. While the investigation is ongoing, Agalarli will remain in Warsaw.
Azerbaijani political emigrant Dashgyn Agalarli, who received political asylum in Norway three years ago, was arrested by Interpol at the airport of Gdansk (Poland) on January 6.
Agalarli says he was arrested at the request of the Azerbaijani authorities and that he is going to be sent back to Azerbaijan. What exactly are the charges against him is unclear. Agalarli believes that the Azerbaijani authorities are persecuting him on political grounds.
In 2014, Agalarly was already arrested in Georgia on charges of tax evasion.
From Georgia to Norway
In Azerbaijan, Dashgyn Agalarli was engaged in opposition activities.
In 2014, he moved with his family to Georgia. Soon after, he was put on the wanted list for tax evasion, arrested in Tbilisi and put in a pre-trial detention center. Six months later, local human rights activists achieved his release.
In 2017, Agalarli received political asylum in Georgia, but then was deprived of this status and was forced to leave Georgia.
As a result, he received political asylum in Norway. Now he lives there and collaborates with the political emigrant television channel Turan TV, which broadcasts from France.
The reason for all his misadventures, including his current arrest, Dashgyn Agalarli considers persecution by the Azerbaijani authorities for dissent.
Arrest in Gdansk
“The Azerbaijani passport, according to which I was put on the wanted list, is already invalid and my document is Norwegian. Representatives of the Polish authorities tell me that they should investigate all this,” Dashgyn Agalarli told the Caucasian Knot.
There are no comments from the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan yet.
Turan TV host Fikret Huseynli (also a political emigrant living in the Netherlands) wrote on his Facebook page that “the Azerbaijani Embassy in Poland has begun to seek the extradition of Dashgyn Agalarli.”
In his opinion, it is necessary that international organisations and human rights activists make every effort to solve this problem before it is too late.
Many other users of social networks come up with how to help out the Agalarli or simply demand to free him.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that Azerbaijani opposition activists, journalists and political émigrés have been deported, extradited or simply kidnapped from other countries.
The most high-profile such incident occurred in 2017, when journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was kidnapped from Georgia, brought to Azerbaijan and sentenced to six years in prison on charges of illegal border crossing, smuggling and resistance to a government official.
International human rights organizations consider this arrest politically motivated and recognize Mukhtarli a political prisoner.
Back in March 2019, Russia deported Fakhraddin Abbasov – an activist for rights of the Talysh ethnic minority living in southern Azerbaijan. Abbasov was arrested immediately upon arrival at a Baku airport on charges of appealing against territorial integrity and inciting hatred.