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Azerbaijan: Detained academic, Gubad Ibadoghlu’s health deteriorates

Gubad Ibadoghlu is a renowned economist and political activist. On July 23, 2023, the Azerbaijani authorities detained him on fabricated charges in an apparent retaliation for his criticism of the government. He suffers from serious health issues including diabetes and heart conditions. Gubad Ibadoglu’s health has severely deteriorated in custody as he is not receiving adequate health care. According to his family, his health may reach a critical point soon, unless he is released and allowed to access necessary health care.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the President of Azerbaijan urging him to:

  • Ensure Gubad Ibadoghlu’s immediate and unconditional release.
  • Ensure he is provided with the health care he requires and is protected from torture and other ill-treatment.
  • End the misuse of the criminal justice system in Azerbaijan to target government criticism and dissent.

Write to:

Ilham Aliyev

President of Azerbaijan

Office of the President of Azerbaijan

19 Istiqlaliyyat Street

Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan

Email: office@pa.gov.az

Salutation: Dear Mr. President,

And copy:

Mr. Vasif Cingiz Oglu Abutalibov
Chargé d’affaires, a.i.
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
275 Slater Street, Suite 1203
Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9
Tel: (613) 288-0497 Fax: (613) 230-8089
Email: reception@azembassy.ca

Arrest and ill-treatment

On July 23, 2023, police arrested Gubad Ibadoghlu and his wife, Irada Bayramova, while they were driving near Sumgayit, about 40 kilometers from Baku. Four unmarked cars forcibly stopped their vehicle. “Twenty plain-clothed officers forced the couple out of their car, and physically assaulted them, then forced them into separate cars and drove them to the Interior Ministry’s Organized Crime Unit in Baku,” recounted their child, Zhala Bayramova. Irada was released with bruises on her arms, legs, and back.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Interior alleges the arrest was part of an operation against supporters of Fethullah Gülen, labeling them as part of a “terrorist organization.” During the arrest, police claimed to have seized $40,000 from the Economic Research Center. Gubad’s home was also raided, and his brother briefly detained. Despite filing a complaint about their treatment, no action was taken. On February 15, 2024, Baku Court extended Gubad’s pre-trial detention by three more months.

Health Crisis in Detention

Gubad suffers from multiple serious health issues, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and severe lower back pain. “My health is fast deteriorating,” Gubad shared through his lawyer. His medical care is inadequate, with irregular medication schedules and a lack of necessary treatments exacerbating his conditions. He reported from prison: “My window-less cell is damp, and infested with insects. I am forced to take high doses of insulin and experience constant pain.”

I remain unable to access fresh food and clean water. My miserable living conditions and my tormented environment contributed to my declining health. I am suffering from high levels of sugar in blood and aortic aneurysm (extension in the aortic vein in my heart). My pulse is usually higher than 110 per minute. I have soaring pain in my lower back …”

Gubad Ibadoghlu

Crackdown on dissent

Gubad Ibadoghlu’s case exemplifies the Azerbaijani government’s crackdown on dissent. Human rights defenders, independent media, and critics of the government face harsh repercussions, including fabricated charges and unfair trials. This pattern of repression intensifies before major international events hosted by Azerbaijan, such as the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP 29) in November 2024 in Baku. Amnesty International has documented these efforts to silence critical voices ahead of international visibility.

Please take action as soon as possible until May 27, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.