Azerbaijan Releases More than 50 Political Prisoners

by Durna Safarova Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has pardoned over 50 people widely considered to be political prisoners, an unprecedented move that observers are struggling to interpret. As has become a tradition to celebrate the Nowruz holiday, Aliyev pardoned more… Continue Reading  

Azerbaijan: Suffocation of NGOs Raises Questions About Donor Strategy

by Durna Safarova The Azerbaijani government has forced the local chapter of the global corruption watchdog Transparency International to scale back its activities in the South Caucasus nation. The move is part of a long-running crackdown on the country’s civil-society sector.… Continue Reading  

Azerbaijan: Dubbing Critics as “Islamic Extremists”

by Durna Safarova Authorities in Azerbaijan are trying to erase the line between legitimate dissent and religious extremism in an attempt to stifle criticism of their policies. An ongoing trial in the Baku suburb of Nardaran highlights the trend. The… Continue Reading  

Coup Attempt Ripple Effect: Azerbaijan Closes TV Station

by Durna Safarova Azerbaijan, a strategic ally of Turkey, has suspended a national TV station that reportedly planned to broadcast an interview with Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based imam who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for instigating a failed coup.

Azerbaijan: Will Khadija Ismayilova’s Freedom Open Prison Doors?

by Durna Safarova Two days before her 40th birthday, Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova was released from prison on May 25. Questions persist about the Azerbaijani government’s motivation for the release, and whether it portends a loosening of restrictions on civil liberties… Continue Reading