Four months after he was able to leave Azerbaijan and fly to Switzerland, Emin Huseynov’s asylum claim has been successful. Emin’s lawyer Marcel Bosonnet confirmed to media this week that his client had received the decision from Swiss authorities on 19 October.
Emin Huseynov’s political work and advocacy of human rights in Azerbaijan had made him the subject of sustained harassment and threats from the Aliyev government for over a decade. Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Azerbaijan’s government was responsible for serious infringements of Emin’s human rights, following an incident in 2008 where police put Emin in intensive care and local authorities refused to investigate the incident.
Emin was then forced into hiding in August 2014, amidst widespread repression of journalists and human rights activists. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Azerbaijan’s leading media rights organisation of which Emin is the chair, had its headquarters raided and bank accounts frozen. Emin spent ten months sheltering in the Swiss embassy in Baku, with the building surrounded by police, until he was able to travel to Switzerland on a humanitarian visa in June this year.