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Ukrainian Officials Deny Ordering Deportation Of Azerbaijani Opposition Blogger


Elvin Isayev

KYIV -- Ukraine's State Migration Service (DMS) says it never ordered the deportation of Azerbaijani opposition blogger Elvin Isayev to Baku.

Azerbaijan's State Migration Service said on December 14 that Isayev was wanted by the Prosecutor-General's Office of Grave Crimes and had been deported two days earlier for "violating Ukrainian migration laws."

The DMS told RFE/RL on January 29 that it had made "no decision to forcibly return or forcibly expel Elvin Isayev."

Upon arrival in Azerbaijan, Isayev was placed in pretrial detention based on a Baku court ruling from August 22.

Azerbaijan has not said on what grounds he was arrested and what charges he is facing.

His deportation came ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's December 16-18 visit to Baku, where he met with President Ilham Aliyev.

On December 23, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office informed RFE/RL that it had not approved Isayev's deportation.

Isayev in 1998 moved to Russia, where he called Aliyev a "dictator" on his blog, while also writing about corruption in Azerbaijan.

A court in St. Petersburg on August 26 ruled to expel Isayev and strip him of the Russian citizenship that he had acquired in 2001. Isayev was subsequently placed in a temporary jail for foreign citizens.

His deportation to Azerbaijan in September was suspended based on an interim measure of the European Court of Human rights called "rule 39."

That month he moved to Ukraine.

On December 12, Ukrainian media started reporting about Isayev's disappearance from Kyiv, including a dead signal with the mobile phone he was using.

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