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Human Rights Watch calls on Azerbaijan to release political prisoners

With the country hosting the European Games this June, Azerbaijan is under an unusually large international spotlight. More and more human rights monitors are calling attention to Azerbaijan’s worsening treatment of human rights defenders and journalists. Human Rights Watch’s associate Europe and Central Asia director, Jane Buchanan, has called on Azerbaijan “to release the critics it has thrown behind bars and end its crackdown.”

Buchanan’s comments accompany a new Human Rights Watch video recounting Azerbaijan’s human rights record:

HRW’s post references Emin Huseynov’s plight specifically, as one of “dozens of activists and journalists [ ] compelled to flee Azerbaijan or go into hiding.”

Buchanan said, “The journalists and others behind bars or in exile are fully aware that thousands of athletes, sports fans, journalists, and others will soon arrive in Baku to celebrate a major new international event. They are counting on Olympic leaders and governments to not just come to the Baku party, but to stand up for what is right, by insisting on freedom for those wrongly accused.”