Azerbaijan: kidnapped journalist must be released immediately

PEN condemns the cross-border abduction and detention of Azeri investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who vanished from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on 29 May 2017 and reappeared the following day in police custody in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

Afgan Mukhtarli told his lawyer that he had been abducted on his way home by unidentified men who spoke Georgian. They pushed him into a car, blindfolded him and beat him before changing vehicles. He said that the captors who took him across the border to Azerbaijan spoke Azeri and added that 10,000 euros were planted on him.

On 31 May, the Baku Sabail District Court sentenced him to three months pre-trial detention on charges of smuggling, resisting arrest and illegally crossing the border.

PEN fears that Afgan Mukhtarli is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment as well as an unfair trial. The organisation believes that the charges against him are politically motivated and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

For further information, please visit the PEN International website.


Spread the word

Share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media: #AfganMukhtarli #FreeAfgan

Write to the authorities

Please send appeals to the Azeri authorities:

  • Protesting Afgan Mukhtarli’s detention and calling for his immediate and unconditionally release;
  • Calling on them to ensure that Afgan Mukhtarli is protected from torture and other ill-treatment;
  • Urging them to end their campaign of intimidation directed at opposition or critical voices and to comply with their obligations under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Azerbaijan is a state party) to protect the right to freedom of expression.

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of Azerbaijan
Istiglaliyyat Street 19
AZ 1066 Baku

Prosecutor General Zakir Qaralov
Office of the Prosecutor General
7 Rafibeyli Street
AZ1001 Baku

Please copy your letters to the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in your country.  Addresses may be found here

Please send appeals to the Georgian authorities:

  • Urging them to ensure that a prompt, independent and impartial investigation is carried out into Afgan Mukhtarli’s abduction and that those responsible are held to account;
  • Reminding them that Georgia is a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights and that any involvement in Afgan Mukhtarli’s abduction would be a violation of the Convention.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili
7 Ingorokva St
Tbilisi, Georgia
Online form:

Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mghebrishvili
10, G. Gulua St
Tbilisi, Georgia
Online form:

Please copy your letters to the Embassy of Georgia in your country.  Addresses may be found here

***Please send appeals immediately. Please send us copies of any appeals you send and of any responses you receive***


About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *