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Rights Watchdog Urges Azerbaijan To End Harassment Of Lawyers

  • RFE/RL

Freedom House says the Azerbaijani government "should end its campaign of innuendo and threats against" lawyers Fariz Namazli (left) and Elcin Sadiqov.

Freedom House says the Azerbaijani government "should end its campaign of innuendo and threats against" lawyers Fariz Namazli (left) and Elcin Sadiqov.

An international human rights watchdog has called on the Azerbaijani government to stop what it calls the harassment of two lawyers known for representing political prisoners.

Robert Herman, vice president for international programs at the U.S.-based NGO Freedom House, said in a November 3 statement that the Azerbaijani government "should end its campaign of innuendo and threats against Elchin Sadiqov and Fariz Namazli, two of the few lawyers in the country who dare to represent political prisoners and bring attention to government wrongdoing."

Herman added that "the [Azerbaijani] government should stop mistreating lawyers for conducting their professional duties."

A pro-government media outlet in Azerbaijan posted articles on its website on November 2 accusing Sadiqov of being romantically involved with the wife of one of his clients.

Sadiqov said he also received violent threats while at the Interior Ministry and his wife, lawyer Zubeyda Sadiqova, has also received threats recently in regard to her husband's work.

Also on November 2, Namazli was told a complaint had been filed against him alleging that he assaulted someone while in court on October 20, in an incident during which Namazli himself had been the victim of an unprovoked attack.

Azerbaijan is rated as "Not Free" in Freedom House's overall freedom and media freedom indexes.

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