On March 14, 2021 there was an attempt upon the life of a blogger and political emigrant from Azerbaijan, Muhammad Mirzali. The attempt took place in France. Several unidentified attackers brutally beat, stabbed him multiple times and fled. The blogger was hospitalized in serious condition.
Muhammad Mirzali in the hospital
Over the past few years, M. Mirzali has been known for his sharp criticism of the President Ilham Aliyev. The critisism that he openly expressed on social networks. The Azerbaijani authorities have tried repeatedly to make him shut up. In January 2018, his father was taken to the police station in Baku where he was beaten and detained for several days. Thereafter, the law enforcement officers sporadically detained his three sisters’ husbands and also beat them up in Baku. As a result, his parents were forced to emigrate to France.
In October 2020, M. Mirzali revealed that there had been an attempt on his life and that he had received threatening SMS messages from a high-ranking Azerbaijani parliamentary official. But he refused to stop criticizing the country’s state authorities.
At the beginning of March 2021, M. Mirzali made a statement that they demanded him to stop criticizing the President, threatening, in case of his refusal, to spread on the Internet a video showing his sister’s intimate private life. However, M. Mirzali was not afraid of the Azerbaijani authorities’ blackmailing and the video of his sister’s life together with her husband was eventually posted on the Internet. A week later, Mirzali was attacked and seriously injured.
On February 12, 2020, we, the Azerbaijani journalists and human rights activists forced to live in exile, made a collective statement providing a list of the political emigrants who had received threats of physical reprisals from the Azerbaijani authorities. The German-based blogger Qabil Mammadov and the French-based journalist Ganimat Zahid were both attacked.
The Dictator of Azerbaijan has completely destroyed the civil society in the country, any critical statements are severely punished, the opposition is virtually crushed. Currently, he has declared war on his critics residing in Europe and the United States.
At the present time, the following people are still at risk:
Sevinj Mirzoyeva, resident of the USA, head and founder of the Osmanqizi TV channel, one of the Aliyev regime’s critics
Arif Yunus, resident of the Netherlands, former prisoner of conscience, conflict expert at the Institute for Peace and Democracy
Emin Akhmedbekov, resident of the France, former prisoner of conscience, former officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, the Chief of the Russian editorial service of TURAN TV satellite television
Qabil Mammadov, resident of the Germany, former Army officer, now Internet blogger.
We appeal to the authorities of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA to be vigilant with regard to the terrorists who were intentionally hired by the Azerbaijani Dictator in order to suppress the criticism of the dictatorial regime in Azerbaijan.
Institute for Peace and Democracy (the Netherlands)
Independent Movement Democracy for Azerbaijan (AND)
TURAN TV (France)
15 March 2021
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