News: PWYP condemns beating of Ilgar Mammadov in Azerbaijan

PWYP, NRGI

Publish What You Pay strongly condemns the beating and inhumane treatment of Ilgar Mammadov, member of the Advisory Council of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). Mr Mammadov, who remains unlawfully imprisoned following a decision by the European Court of Human Rights, was allegedly beaten by high-level staff in the penitentiary facility on October 16, following a series of intimidations and threats.

The unacceptable violent treatment of Mr Mammadov is part of a wider context of a complete crackdown on dissenting voices in Azerbaijan by the government. Whether engaged in politics, media or civil society, journalists and activists continue to face restrictions, harsh treatment, criminal prosecutions and prison sentences, which are completely at odds with the spirit and principles of the Open Government Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in which Azerbaijan participates.

In April 2015, the EITI board made the decision to demote the country from ‘compliant’ to ‘candidate’, giving Azerbaijan until April 2016 to put in place a set of corrective actions as decided by the EITI Board. But despite a recent high level visit by the EITI Chair to the president of Azerbaijan the general crackdown on civil society has continued, including recent developments such as the case of Mammadov and the court sentence of famous anti-corruption investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova earlier this year. We urgently request the Government of Azerbaijan to immediately release Ilgar Mammadov as well as Khadija Ismayilova, and remind them to ensure that they meet the EITI Board’s recommendations by April 2016 if they want to continue to be part of the EITI.

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