Responding to the news that Ulvi Hasanli, the director of Abzas Media, an online Azerbaijani media outlet, has been detained while police also searched his apartment and office, Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s South Caucasus Researcher, said:
“As director of Abzas Media, Ulvi Hasanli has bravely exposed allegations of high-level corruption in Azerbaijan and covered critical issues of public interest.
“We are deeply concerned about the reports that Ulvi Hasanli was beaten or otherwise ill-treated in detention. The Azerbaijani authorities must immediately disclose his whereabouts and legal status and ensure he has immediate access to a lawyer of his choice. The arrest of Ulvi Hasanli fits into a pattern of critics being arrested by the authorities to stifle their dissent. Unless the authorities bring an internationally recognisable criminal charge against Ulvi Hasanli, and this is substantiated by credible evidence, he should be immediately released.”
Ulvi Hasanli has bravely exposed allegations of high-level corruption in Azerbaijan and covered critical issues of public interestNatalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s South Caucasus Researcher
Ulvi Hasanli was supposed to fly abroad from Baku airport today. Yet he did not board the plane and his whereabouts remained unknown until his lawyer said he had been apprehended by the police.
Hasanli, who was an activist with NIDA Civic Union in the late 2010s, has faced repeated harassment from the government. In 2018, he was conscripted for military service and deployed to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict despite being in ill-health. In 2021, he was briefly detained over his work as an investigative journalist.
In 2022, he was one of three journalists who appealed against legislation obliging all media outlets to register with the state media registry under the threat of closure. He also reported on the so-called Soyudlu protests in June 2023, during which Azerbaijani police detained, beat, threatened, or obstructed the work of at least six journalists, including Hasanli.
Hasanli’s detention follows the arrest of economist Gubad Ibadoghlu, who was detained on 23 July 2023 on trumped up charges in retaliation for exposing high-level corruption in Azerbaijan.