A new report "Repression Beyond Borders: Exiled Azerbaijanis in Georgia" ​ was released in ​Washington

Top U.S. analysts, human rights defenders, question whether Georgia can still be reliably considered as a safe haven for Azerbaijani activists fleeing persecution at home.

A new report called "Repression Beyond Borders: Exiled Azerbaijanis in Georgia", which documents how Azeri journalists and activists have been harassed by their government even while living abroad, was released in Washington D.C. on Friday, September 29, TURAN's U.S. correspondent reports.

In May 2017, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted in Tbilisi and resurfaced in detention in Azerbaijan two days later - an incident, which sent shock waves through the exile community.

"The question the report asks is how much collusion there is between Azerbaijan and

Georgia​,​" said Maran Turner, the executive director of Freedom Now. "[Report] shows how dangerous Georgia has become for ​[Azeri] ​ dissidents."

OSF's Alex Johnson, moderator the event, highlighted the fact that since 2014, Azeri government initiated an unprecedented crackdown against journalists, and civil society activists.

More than 120 individuals are imprisoned on politically motivated grounds and others were forced to flee Azerbaijan - many went to nearby Georgia where they presumed they would be free from harassment.

For Johnson, Muhktarli"s case is not isolated and exemplifies how the Azeri government targets dissidents living abroad. These events have many implications for the security of human rights defenders and international cooperation that may stifle civil society.

"Georgia has been rejecting residency permit and asylum apps of Azerbaijanis in parallel with repression," said Tamta Mikeladze, civil and political rights program director of the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center in Tbilisi.

According to her, Afgan's case was initially investigated by Ministry of Internal Affairs, the same agency accused of kidnapping him.

The investigation was not moved to Prosecutor's Office until July, nearly two months after abduction. The kidnapping case is being investigated under lesser charge of "deprivation of liberty", she added.

For Turner, Afghan's abduction has had significant impact on Georgia's image. It's clear that Azerbaijan is able to exert pressure on Georgia. Dissidents are still being followed.

Considering anti-human rights policy of Georgia, they are fleeing further abroad.

The full version of the report can be found here:


Washington, D.C.

Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line