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Rapporteur calls for release of Azerbaijani journalist Afqan Mukhtarli

Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD), PACE General Rapporteur on Media Freedom and the Safety of Journalists, today expressed concern at the fate of independent freelance Azerbaijani journalist Afqan Mukhtarli, who was reported missing in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 29 May 2017.

The journalist has allegedly been abducted and forcibly taken to neighbouring Azerbaijan where he is detained in custody. This case is being monitored by the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. No reply has been received yet from the Azerbaijani authorities.

“I deplore the intensification of repression against dissidents in Azerbaijan, and in particular against the independent press. It seems that this assault is intended to silence an investigative journalist known for his reporting on the corruption of the Azerbaijani authorities."

"I call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release this detained journalist. I also join my PACE colleagues Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren in calling on the Georgian authorities to fully investigate all allegations made in relation to this case, and to duly inform the Assembly of the outcome of these investigations”, Mr Ariev said.