Independent Media Under Unprecedented Attack

In a statement released today, Civil Rights Defenders and the undersigned members of the Sport for Rights coalition condemn the Azerbaijani authorities’ crackdown on the independent media and other critical voices.

Sport for Rights calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to implement immediate and concrete steps to improve freedom of expression in the country, starting with the unconditional release of UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize winner Khadija Ismayilova and Azerbaijan’s other jailed journalists, bloggers, and other political prisoners.

Despite the recent releases of 16 political prisoners, dozens remain jailed for political reasons in Azerbaijan. Among them are journalists Nijat Aliyev, Araz Guliyev, Seymur Hezi, and Khadija Ismayilova; bloggers Abdul Abilov, Faraj Karimov, Rashad Ramazanov, and Ilkin Rustemzade; and others targeted in connection with exercising their right to freedom of expression, such as opposition Republican Alternative (REAL) movement leader Ilgar Mammadov.