United Nations Special Rapporteur Michel Forst criticized the “relentless prosecution and repression of prominent rights activists in Azerbaijan” and called for their immediate release – before the inaugural European Games begin in Baku on 12 June. The statement was made June 2.
The independent expert mentioned the harassment, jailing and surveilance of human rights defenders. Mr. Frost also spoke of the "unjustifiable criminalization” which was justified "with trumped-up or politically-motivated charges of State treason, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office."
Mr.Frost mentioned the cases of Intigam Aliyev, Khadija Ismayil, Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli, Elnur Mammadov, Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunu, Rasul Jafarov as just some of the examples of this "trumped up" charges.
Expert urged the government of Azerbaijan to create an environment that empowers those who promote and protect human rights rather than persecute them.
Mr. Forst also called for the show of solidarity with Azerbaijani human rights defenders and called on all athletes, fans and supporters of the Games to join the calls for their immediate release in the European spirit of freedom and human rights.
Maina Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom or opinion and expression also endorsed Mr. Forst's appeal to the Azerbaijani Government.