European Parliament will discuss on June 15th the case of investigative Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who was kidnapped from Georgia in late May and brought to prison in Azerbaijan. The European Parliament will discuss the situation of media, human rights, and democracy in Azerbaijan and will vote on a resolution on Azerbaijan at the plenary session.
Mukhtarli was living together with his wife Leila Mustafaeva in Georgia since 2015. They were both writing about the business interests and corruption in President Ilham Aliyev’s family, as well as political persecution in Azerbaijan.
Mukhtarli was kidnapped near his home in Tbilisi on May 29th by Azerbaijani security forces and taken to Azerbaijan without a passport. Mukhtarli says security forces planted 10,000 euro on him and arrested him for illegally crossing the border on smuggling. On May 31st, an Azerbaijani court gave Mukhtarli three months pre-trial detention. He was taken directly to an isolation cell from the courtroom.
Civil society groups and activists in Georgia are criticizing and protesting the Georgian government for Mukhtarli’s kidnapping, believing the government was complicit in the abduction as Mukhtarli crossed the border without a passport. High-ranking Georgian officials, including the prime minister, interior minister, and justice minister, have denied allegations that the Georgian authorities had any involvement in or knowledge of the abduction.