Exiled Journalist Abducted, Detained and Faces Charges in Azerbaijan
Independent investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova confirmed that Mukhtarli was kidnapped from his neighbourhood where he was forced into a car, his hands were tied and he was beaten. Mukhtarli sustained serious injuries. His lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, told the Committee for the Protection of Journalists: “He was beaten, has a broken nose, bruises all over his head and right eye, his rib may be broken.” He was then taken across the border into Azerbaijan by car without his passport.
Mukhtarli is being charged with trespassing, smuggling and resistance to law-enforcement (violations of Articles 318.1, 206.1 and 315.2 of the criminal code), his lawyer confirmed. The Azerbaijani police also claim Mukhtarli was in possession of 10,000 EUR during the police search. Mukhtarli, who has contributed to various independent outlets, including Meydan TV, fled to Georgia from Azerbaijan in 2015, after receiving threats over his investigative reporting on corruption in the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry. Afgan Mukhtarli is now in pre-trial detention.
- Statement by PEN International, : "Azerbaijan: kidnapped journalist must be released immediately"
- Statement by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum: "EaP CSF Calls for Release of Sheremet Award Winner and Respect for His Family"
- Article 19 report: "Azerbaijan: Afgan Mukhtarli abducted in Georgia and detained on smuggling and trespassing charges"
- Article published by RFERL/RL: "Demonstrators In Tbilisi Protest Azerbaijani Journalist's Alleged Abduction"
- CPJ report: "Exiled journalist abducted in Georgia to face prosecution in Azerbaijan"
- Report published on the Mapping Media Freedom platform: "Azerbaijan/Georgia: Exiled journalist abducted, detained and faces charges"