Welcome news from Azerbaijan
Unusually, there were two pieces of good news regarding Azerbaijan in January. The first of these was the dropping of politically-motivated assault charges against jailed IFEX member Mehman Huseynov. This followed a wave of national and international outrage, protests by IFEX members and European institutions, demonstrations on the streets of Baku and prison hunger strikes. Huseynov, who was jailed on trumped-up slander charges in 2017, is now due for release in March. After the charges against him were dropped, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) – of which Huseynov is the chair – reminded us that there were many other political prisoners in Azerbaijan’s jails.
One of these political prisoners is the journalist Afgan Mukhtarli. He was kidnapped in Georgia in 2017 and transported to Baku where he was convicted on spurious charges and handed a six-year prison sentence. This