Baku’ assaults regime critics

The courts of Azerbaijan condemned at least 25 journalists and political activists to long prison terms in politically motivated, unfair trials in 2017, Human Rights Watch concluded in its World Report 2018.
Azerbaijan laws and regulations for nongovernmental organizations created a frame, making impossible for independent groups to fund and carry out their work. Harassment, torture and ill-treatment in custody in total impunity is common, and legal changes reduced the number of lawyers accepting politically sensitive cases.
President Ilham Aliyev (pictured) clearly draws a red line for freedom of speech, and fundamental rights, sending a clear message that anyone who crosses it is charged as a criminal. The situation with fundamental rights in Azerbaijan has been in down spiral for years, while criticism of the regime and especially the Aliyevs family, is a taboo, blocking democratic developments in oil rich Caucasus country.
“Azerbaijan does have a de facto royal family. They pretend the Aliyevs are democratically elected” – writes the son of the assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Matthew.

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