US Secretary of State intercedes for fired Azerbaijani lawyer, rights advocate
US Secretary of State intercedes for Azerbaijani lawyer
US Secretary of State Blinken called on the Azerbaijani authorities to reinstate lawyer Shahla Gumbatova at her job.
So far, the Azerbaijani authorities have not reacted in any way. Who is Shahla Gumbatova? For what reason was she suspended from work?
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Tweet from the US Secretary of State
On March 26, 2021, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tweeted in support of Azerbaijani lawyer Shahla Humbatova.
Who is Shahla Gumbatova?
In 2020, Azerbaijani lawyer Shahla Gumbatova was among the 12 winners of the International Women of Courage Award.
This US Secretary of State Award has been presented annually since 2007 to women from around the world who have demonstrated courage and leadership in the fight for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women.
Shahla Humbatova is one of the few Azerbaijani lawyers who defend human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, activists, oppositionists and representatives of the LGBT community who are persecuted by the state for their views or demands for the observance of rights and freedoms. At the same time, Gumbatova herself regularly faces threats and harassment because of her activities.
For what reason was she suspended from work?
Exactly one year after receiving the international award, Shahla Gumbatova was excluded from the Azerbaijani Bar Association. Thus, she was deprived of the right to act as a defense lawyer in courts.
The decision to remove Gumbatova from the collegium was made by the Baku Administrative Court.
According to the lawyer, the decision is political in nature. The bar association explained the removal of the well-known lawyer by the fact that ‘she had not paid the bar’s membership dues for six months.’