The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) strongly condemns the abduction of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli from his Tbilisi, Georgia exile on 29 May 2017. Mukhtarli, a long-time critic of the Azerbaijani government, is currently detained in that country’s capital, Baku, according to his lawyer Elchin Sadiqov.
ECPMF Board Chairman Henrik Kaufholz says:
“While we demand his immediate release from Azerbaijani detention, Mukhtarli’s abduction is just the latest example of the Georgian government’s inability or unwillingness to protect Azerbaijani journalists who have sought refuge in Georgia,
“Time after time in recent months, Azerbaijani journalists in Georgia have been harrassed by local law enforcement, denied re-entry into the country or have not had their residence permits renewed,” Kaufholz adds. “The ECPMF considers this conduct by the Georgian government to be entirely irreconcilable with their commitments vis-a-vis the European Union in the recent association negotiations. We urge the Georgian government to live up to its responsibilities and call on the EU Commission and on EU member states to take immediate action and remind Georgia of its promises.”