It’s not excluded that crackdown against civil society will continue in Azerbaijan with new arrests. The question is “Who is next?”. Two critical trials this week:
Yasamal District Court of Baku considered a lawsuit by Nuriya Huseynova – cellmate of Leyla Yunus, filed against lawyer Alaif Hasanov on 29 September. Hasanov himself was absent in the court. Hasanov unveiled facts of physical pressure by Huseynova on Yunus in the jail cell, where they are present together. One of his statements was published in the newspaper “Azadlig” September 17, 2014. Thereafter, Huseynov said that the lawyer called her “a criminal”, calling it an insult. Hasanov said that Huseynova was previously judged, and her current term in prison has not expired. The lawyer believes that the authorities use Huseynova, to remove him from the protection of Yunus. The lawyer pointed out that a copy of the article in “Azadlig” newspaper was attached to the suit. “It turns out that Huseynova is a regular reader of “Azadlig”, and gets it even in jail, while lawyers bags are carefully checked , so that to prevent getting the newspaper “Azadlig” to jail.
“I’m not guilty, but my detainment is real.”
Khadija Ismayilova, who is known for her extensive reporting on the business interests of the family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and who hosts a daily program for RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service, said a criminal libel case has been opened against her and she has been ordered to appear in court on October 3.
“I have been warned that, upon returning from my trip, I will be facing arrest and maybe this is another way to warn me,” she told RFE/RL in a telephone interview. “I believe they want me either not to go back to Azerbaijan or to be scared and not be loud about things in Azerbaijan. They have to understand that this is not the way to deal with me.”
(Will be updated)