The General Rapporteur on Political Prisoners for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), has called for the immediate release of Gubad Ibadoghlu, an Azerbaijani academic and chair of the Democracy and Welfare Party.
"Mr Ibadoghlu is an independent economist, politician, and critic of the Azerbaijani government. Part of his academic research has focused on corruption within Azerbaijani state institutions. Notably, in June 2023 Mr Ibadoghlu started a foundation for the education of young Azerbaijanis, stating that it would be funded by donations and foreign assets confiscated from elites allegedly engaged in corruption.
I have been shocked by reports of Mr Ibadoghlu's violent arrest on 23 July and his subsequent detention. He is charged with the 'production, acquisition or sale of counterfeit money by an organised group' and could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted. I am concerned that the charges against him result from his activism and are politically motivated.
The conditions of Mr Ibadoghlu's detention are also of great concern. Despite having recently undergone heart surgery and suffering from numerous medical conditions, there are reports that Mr Ibadoghlu does not have access to adequate food and has experienced rapid weight loss. I am also greatly concerned by allegations that he does not have access to a doctor.
I urge the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure humane conditions for Mr Ibadoghlu, including access to adequate food and medical attention. I call on the Azerbaijani government to take all steps necessary to drop politically motivated charges and secure his immediate release."