Lets help Azerbaijani human right defender and blogger Mehman Huseynov fight cancer

# HelpMehman  Donate here: https://gf.me/u/x6a5tq

My youngest brother  , the well-known Azerbaijani journalist, human rights defender, and anti-corruption activist, Mehman Huseynov , is seriously ill. 
A few weeks ago, doctors from the Oncology Center of the Geneva University  Hospital  finally diagnosed cancer as a  solitary fibrous tumor. 

Fortunately, doctors said that Mehman  has a great chance to fight this disease if he can start the prescribed treatment regimen as soon as possible. The treatment will be done in phases. The first phase includes 5 to 6 weeks course of radiotherapy, which will cost  CHF 30 000 (CHF 1,00 = US$ 1,04 ). The second phase is the surgical removal of the tumor, which will cost CHF 12,000 if radiotherapy can effectively reduce the tumor size; if not the cost of surgery can rise to CHF 44,000. A total of  CHF 74 000  is needed to pay for his hospitalization and treatment.  

Neither Mehman nor I have such an amount of money. We have dedicated all our professional lives in non-profit organizations, defending human rights, and earning just enough to spend for daily needs. At that time, Mehman could not even afford to pay for health insurance that could cover some of his health care costs.  

I am the eldest brother of Mehman and I’m currently a refugee and a stateless person  living in Switzerland. After several failed attempts to get a clear diagnosis and treatment from Azerbaijan and neighboring country Georgia, Mehman finally was able to come to Switzerland and undergo proper diagnostic procedures through the support of partner human rights organizations. But he came in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. The closure of the borders prevented us to look for cheaper diagnostic and treatment opportunities in other European countries. We are grateful that highly qualified doctors in Switzerland are committed to effectively cure him, but we need to have a unified effort to raise the fund for his treatment.  

Mehman - who has committed his life to the protection of human rights and democracy - needs your help! His life is currently in danger and he needs our support so he could return to Azerbaijan in good health and continue his good deeds.    

I call on everyone who cares for the fate of Mehman to show solidarity and help him raise CHF 74,000 to preserve his life and regain his health.   

For those who do not know Mehman, he is a young good-humoured person with high aspirations for his country and fellow citizens. He is a passionate journalist and blogger  who already endured a lot of pain and sufferings because of his dedication to protect human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan. He is now 30 years old  and for the past 8 years of his life, Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly tortured and illegally detained him, resulting in some irreparable damage to his health and well-being. 

In 2012, a politically motivated criminal case was opened against Mehman for the first time, in retaliation for his active participation in the campaign "Sing for democracy".  While this did not lead to detention, the Azerbaijani authorities imposed a travel ban on him and forcibly annulled all of his identification documents.  

Despite this unlawful persecution, Mehman and I work together and established the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), the agency is dedicated to promoting the freedom of expression and protecting journalist from abuse and oppression. IRFS initiated the development of free media in an otherwise oppressive country.  

These initiatives infuriated the Azerbaijani authorities and led to the initiation of another politically motivated criminal case, this time against me. Fearing for my life , I was forced to leave Azerbaijan and go into political exile. Mehman stayed in Azerbaijan. He continued his human rights work , fearlessly criticizing corrupt officials in power.  

In March 2017, Mehman was imprisoned for publicly criticizing the obvious nepotism and manipulation of power by the current President of Azerbaijan for appointing his wife as the country’s first vice president. While in prison, our beloved mother, Frangiz Huseynova , fell seriously ill and died in a governmental hospital in Baku, because of the doctors’ negligence and inaction. Mehman was only allowed one temporary leave from prison to attend her funeral . Following this tragedy, his commitment to fight abuse and corruptions becomes even stronger. His voice became the voice of many people in Azerbaijan, especially those who suffered different forms of oppression. 

Seeing Mehman's determination, authorities opened a new criminal case against him 2 months before his scheduled release to keep him locked up for another 7 years. In protest of this lawlessness, he began a hunger strike . The authorities’ actions against him led to a series of public outcries among the people of Azerbaijan, followed by several public protests in his support , which captured the attention  of many international human rights organizations  that called for his immediate release.  

Thanks to the great support of the people of Azerbaijan  and the  international community , the authorities dropped the criminal cases  and released him from prison in March 2019. Since then, his right to travel has been reinstated allowing him to participate in international forums and give a voice to the oppressed journalists and civil societies in his country. He resumed his journalistic and human rights activities in Azerbaijan despite constant threats from the authorities.  

In December 2019, Mehman was again arrested , illegally detained in response to his songs about corruption among the ruling party. Upon, Mehman’s arrest, he was brought to a deserted place where he was brutally tortured, beaten, humiliated and abandoned when he could no longer stand on his own feet. After a couple of hours, he was able to call friends who helped bring him to a hospital in Baku. While the doctors in Azerbaijan recognized a number of physical injuries, Mehman was denied hospitalization and a full medical examination.  

Acknowledging the deterioration in Mehman’s health, some international human rights organizations helped him obtain a full medical examination in Georgia in January 2020. Doctors in Georgia saw indication of an oncologic disease but could not provide a definitive diagnosis due to the lack of advanced diagnostic facilities, hence suggesting seeking confirmatory testing in a more advanced country in Europe.  

Now, Mehman’s cancer is confirmed. He needs our help and support to win this fight. Help us bring him back to health so he can continue his mission of bringing hope for democracy in Azerbaijan.  

We know that the Covid19 pandemic has a financial impact on many of you; therefore we will gratefully appreciate any amount with which you can contribute to his treatment. You can also help us reach-out to more people who might be willing to donate by forwarding the link to this fund raiser to them or through sharing it on your social media pages.  

We thank you in advance for your kind hearts and generosity!!!  

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