Urgent Action: Opposition Activist Detained, Health at Risk (Azerbaijan: UA 38.20)

Azerbaijani journalist and opposition activist Tofig Yagublu has been detained since his arrest on 22 March on suspicion of “hooliganism”. His family is concerned about his health in detention amidst the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold in Azerbaijan. He should be released immediately.



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H.E Ilham Aliyev
President of Azerbaijan
Due to postal restrictions caused by COVID-19, please only send physical mail to the Embassy
Webform: https://en.president.az/letters/new_formFacebook: @PresidentIlhamAliyev
Twitter: @presidentaz

Ambassador Elin Suleymanov
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
2741 34th Street NW, Washington DC  20008
Phone: 202 337 3500 I Fax: 202 337 5911
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @azembassyus
Facebook: @azembasssy.us
Instagram: @azembassyus

Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear President,

I am concerned about the recent incarceration of Tofig Yagublu, an Azerbaijani opposition politician and journalist, who has faced years of harassment for his peaceful activism. Tofig Yagublu was arrested in the capital Baku on 22 March following a car accident in which he was involved. The next day, a Baku City Court remanded Tofig Yagublu in custody for three months. He is suspected of hooliganism and may face up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Tofig Yagublu insists that he is innocent, that the other car involved in the collision had deliberately caused the collision, and that the couple who were in it falsely accused him of assaulting them. He called the police, and when the police arrived, they arrested him as a criminal suspect. He was detained overnight at a police station, and it was not until the following day that his lawyer was able to see him, already in court at the remand hearing.

Tofig Yagublu’s family are worried about his health. While in detention, Tofig Yagublu is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the virus which is spreading fast in Azerbaijan as it is in many other countries. He is 59 years old and his health has been affected by the three years he spent in prison, following his conviction in a politically motivated trial under trumped-up charges, as well as by the ill-treatment he suffered while in administrative detention in 2019.

I urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure Tofig Yagublu’s immediate release, and to ensure his health is not at risk; should there be any well-founded reason to suspect Tofig Yagublu, or any person in Azerbaijan, of any violations, ensure that they receive fair trial and enjoy associated rights, including the right to access to a lawyer and representation by a lawyer of their own choice; and end the persecution of Tofig Yagublu and ensure that every person in Azerbaijan can enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Yours sincerely,