“According to an order dating November 13 and signed by the President Ilham Aliyev, my Azerbaijani citizenship was revoked” reads Said Nuri’s Facebook page. Nuri currently holds U.S. citizenship. He left Azerbaijan in 2006 following an investigation launched against him on suspicion of conspiracy against the Azerbaijani government.
In September this year, Nuri was visiting his family in Azerbaijan. Upon his departure he was informed he could not leave as he was a witness in an on-going criminal case opened against some of the non-governmental organizations. His questioning was mandatory as he was still an Azerbaijani citizen. He was deported shortly after and told he could never return.
In an interview with RFERL Azerbaijan service Nuri said, "I knew they were going to try to hurt me with a possibility of banning me from Azerbaijan forever. Especially since they couldn't prosecute me inside the country [...] Officially i wasn't deported from Azerbaijan because they didn't put any type of a stamp in my passport, i just got kicked out of the country".
But on November 13, Nuri's parents received an official letter stating Nuri's citizenship was annulled.
“I thank Azerbaijani dictator for his special attention” read the rest of the Nuri's Facebook update.
Prior to his departure, in 2006, Said Nuri was a member of the youth group, Yeni Fikir [New Idea]. In 2005 A criminal case was launched against the organization and some of its members. The movement’s leader Ruslan Bashirli and its Deputy Chairperson Ramin Taghiyev were charged with conspiring against the government while using the support of Armenian special services and for their alleged roles in the coup. Later these charges were amended to all three being convicted for an attempt to forcefully overthrow the government and of engaging in illegal business activities. The three men were arrested in August and September of 2005. Human Rights Watch described the case as "politically motivated".
When Nuri was released on probation he left the country acquiring U.S. citizenship.
Azerbaijan does not allow dual citizenship. And although article #53.1 of the Constitution, stipulates no Azerbaijani citizen can be deprived of Azerbaijani citizenship recent amendments made to the citizenship law in May 2014 list a number of reasons for forfeiting the citizenship:
- If citizen of Azerbaijan Republic voluntarily obtains citizenship of other country;
- If citizen of Azerbaijan Republic voluntarily serves at state bodies and municipalities, or armed forces and/or another armed units of the foreign country;
- If citizen of Azerbaijan Republic behaves damaging state security;
- If while acquiring the citizenship of the Azerbaijan Republic, a person has deliberately falsified the data necessary to acquire the citizenship, or submitted a falsified document.
An Azerbaijani citizen, accepting the citizenship of a foreign country, within one month must notify the appropriate body of Azerbaijan in a written form. Otherwise, this person is liable in the manner prescribed by the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, according to the amendments.