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UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Civil Society Crackdown In Azerbaijan

  • RFE/RL

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has condemned an ongoing crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan.

In a statement issued on September 8, Zeid said “undue pressure, harassment, and intimidation against journalists, human rights defenders, and activists by state authorities continue to be reported in Azerbaijan.”

“I call for the immediate release of all those who have been deprived of their liberty simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly, as well as for defending the rights of others,” he added.

On September 1, a Baku court sentenced investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL, to 7 1/2 years in prison after convicting her on charges that rights groups have called retribution for her reports on corruption involving senior government officials.

Zeid described the sentencing as “just the latest example of the crackdown on independent voices in the country.”