yet another activist detained over social media posts [Updated January 17, 2024]


[Update] On January 17, Ruslan Vahabov [see the case below] was sentenced to 4 years behind bars on drug possession charges. 

[Update] Authorities continued to target civic activists critical of the state during October. Below is a compilation of some the cases documented by AIW. 

October 27 – Tural Farzili was detained after a post on Facebook in which he questioned the arrest of members of the working group representing the rights of workers. Farzili was released after questioning. 

October 24 – Shahin Amanov was questioned at the police over a spot on Facebook where he criticized the local administrative office. He was also forced to delete all the posts. 

October 23 – Zeka Miragayev was arrested over social media post critical of the Ministry of the Interior. 

October 19 – Ilkin Calilov was questioned, beaten and forced to give a video statement under duress after leaving a comment on a post by Meydan TV on Facebook. In an interview with Abzas Media, Calilov recounted how at the station he was asked to remove the comment he left, which he did. Calilov also told Abzas Media that he was told never to leave any more comments. 

October 18 – Mohyaddin Orucov was detained, and sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention. 

October 16 – Emin Akhundov arrested over hooliganism and resisting police charges, charges Akhundov refutes. The activist is an active critic of the state, online. 

Ruslan Vahabov,  was arrested on drug trafficking charges on September 22. His name is the latest in a series of arrests targeting civic activists over their criticism of the state, online. According to reporting by Meydan TV, at least nine activists have been targeted so far. Many were reprimanded for their anti-war commentary. 

In addition to making anti-war statements, Vahabov, is a representative of the Talysh ethnic group, and throughout his activism, he called to respect the group’s national and cultural rights. In a statement issued by the Public Council of Talyshs of Azerbaijan (PCTA), the group said, “Ruslan Vahabov is a public activist. He criticized the activities of certain institutions of the Azerbaijani government on social networks. At the same time, as a representative of the Talysh ethnic group, he advocated ensuring the constitutional national and cultural rights of his people. For public activity, he was previously subjected to verbal warnings from the police.”

On the social media platform Facebook, Vahabov shared anti-war sentiments. A day before his arrest, on September 21, Vahabov wrote, “What did we gain from the 24 hours and 43 minutes?” referring to the military operation that was launched by the government of Azerbaijan on September 19.

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