New York City Bar Condemns Arbitrary Detention Of Gubad Ibadoghlu in Azerbaijan

New York City Bar Condemns Arbitrary Detention Of Gubad Ibadoghlu in Azerbaijan

The New York City Bar Association on Wednesday strongly condemned the arbitrary detention of and deprivation of medical treatment to the prominent opposition politician, human rights defender, and internationally renowned economist and academic Gubad Ibadoghlu in Azerbaijan, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports. 

In a statement, the Association urged the authorities of Baku to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Ibadoghlu, who, as the authors put it "is evidently being punished solely for his legitimate human rights and democratic activities," as well as to guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and medical and psychological his wellbeing, and put an end to all acts of harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention against all human rights defenders in the country.

"Since at least 2017, Dr. Ibadoghlu has resided outside Azerbaijan. At or around that time, Dr. Ibadoghlu was forced into political exile from Azerbaijan for his contentious work covering issues such as corruption and embezzlement and his activism surrounding political transparency in Azerbaijan, particularly regarding President Aliyev and his family," the Association noted.

Last June, Ibadoghlu returned to Azerbaijan to visit his ill mother. A month after, while driving with his wife to meet youth activists from his political party, his car reportedly was surrounded by plainclothes police officers in four civilian cars, which rammed into his car and forced him into a traffic accident. "Thereafter, these plainclothes police officers jumped out of their vehicles and physically assaulted Dr. Ibadoghlu and his wife. Dr. Ibadoghlu was arrested on dubious charges of possessing fake currency and extremist religious materials for which he was held in pre-trial detention in Narimanov District for several months," the authors remind.

They went on to add, "These charges have been contested and opposed by Dr. Ibadoghlu as fabricated. The possession of extremist religious materials charge was apparently in conjunction with a 2023 smear campaign against the Azerbaijani Youth Education Foundation which attempted to link another co-founder of the Foundation to the alleged orchestration of the 2016 attempted coup in Türkiye. As for the counterfeit currency charge, investigators claimed to have found a bag of money containing approximately USD 40,000. Dr. Ibadoghlu contests both the putative inauthenticity and the ownership of the banknotes."

The Bar Association also calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and other relevant Special Procedure mandate holders of the Human Rights Council to address a joint allegation letter to Azerbaijani government, urging the authorities to "renew their commitment to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and ensure in all circumstances that Azerbaijani human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals."

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