Opposition activists arrested in Azerbaijan after being deported from Germany
Arrests of Azerbaijani activists deported from Germany
Another Azerbaijani political emigrant, deported from Germany, was arrested upon returning home. While officials say the arrests of Ziya Ibrahimli and others were not politically motivated, other political immigrants see them as the result of a deal between the German and Azerbaijani governments.
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Azerbaijani political emigrant Ziya Ibrahimli, who received asylum in Germany, was deported to Azerbaijan on the night of May 19.
“The German police used violence, wounded Ziya Bey, broke down the doors of his apartment, took away his phone so that he could not tell anyone”, said former political prisoner and journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, another political migrant living in Germany.
According to the journalist, a few months ago, Ziya Ibrahimli faced deportation:
“Thanks to us and the efforts of international organizations, that deportation was prevented. The plane carrying Ziya Bey was forced to land and he was released. They said they would give them the right to live. But this time, Ziya Bey was expelled unexpectedly and without a warning”.
Who is Ziya Ibrahimli?
Ziya Ibrahimli was one of the members of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) in the Bilasuvar region. In the 2018 presidential election, he actively fought against voting fraud. For this reason, he was persecuted and forced to leave the country. In the same year he received political asylum in Germany.
The political emigrant was detained at the Baku airport, immediately after returning from Germany.
According to the official statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ziya Ibrahimli has been wanted since 2019 for non-payment of alimony, and it was for this reason that he was deported from Germany and arrested.
In response to comments by the Interior Ministry spokesman Elshad Hajiyev, people close to Ibrahimli said on social media the claim of non-payment of alimony was false. According to them, Ibrahimli’s children are over 18 years old, and he paid alimony to his children until they came of age.
Ziya Ibrahimli, who appeared before a court in the Bilasuvar region on May 20, was sentenced to one month of administrative arrest. According to Afgan Mukhtarli, he was not provided with a lawyer in court.
“No one has yet been allowed to meet with Ziya Bey. At present, lawyer Nemat Karimli is trying to meet with him”, Mukhtarli said.
Sixth arrest in a row
Ibrahimli has become the sixth political immigrant deported from Germany and arrested in Azerbaijan.
Samir Ashurov, who was deported from Germany to Azerbaijan on March 29 this year, was arrested less than a month later, in April. He is charged with stabbing a person.
Lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova told Meydan TV that her client pleads not guilty. Ashurov said that he did not have a knife. The alleged knife was forcibly placed in his pocket. Samir Ashurov noted that he was arrested on a political order, adding that he went on a hunger strike in protest against his illegal arrest.
Four political immigrants who were deported from Germany between June and November last year have been arrested on charges of drug possession.
These are: Mutallim Orujov, Malik Rzayev, Jafar Mirzoyev and Punkhan Karimli.
Nemat Karimli, a lawyer for PFPA activists Mutallim Orujev and Malik Rzaev, told BBC News that his clients were deported and were placed in the Olympic village in accordance with quarantine rules, and, according to them, all this time they testified to people who did not identify themselves, or who introduced themselves as employees of the migration services.
“They were shown pictures of people they met in Germany, Azerbaijani political immigrants, and asked questions about them. They were asked if they participated in political events”, Karimli said.
According to the lawyer, during the investigation, torture was used to extract confessions from his clients about drugs.
German embassy informed of arrests
Earlier, BBC News applied to the German Embassy in Azerbaijan regarding the deportation of political migrants from Germany and their subsequent arrest. The embassy said they were aware of the arrests and were “contacted on all cases known to them”.
The German Embassy also reported that 62 people were deported from this country to Azerbaijan in 2020, and 232 people in 2019.
According to the readmission agreement signed between Azerbaijan and the European Union, the parties must comply with the obligations arising from the relevant international documents on human rights and freedoms.
A deal between German and Azerbaijani governments?
Azerbaijani political emigrants who are currently living in Germany believe that all these “deportations-arrests” are the result of a deal between the governments of Germany and Azerbaijan.
“The German government continues to give Azerbaijani political emigrants to Aliyev. Deportations are carried out on the basis of a list sent from Baku. Despite the arrest of five political emigrants who returned to Baku earlier, the political emigrants were again deported tonight. The current German government is ready to sell each of us for a bribe. International organizations are also silent”, said Afgan Mukhtarli.