EU External Action Service calls for swift investigation of Azeri journalist case

The European External Action Service says that the EU will continue to follow these cases closely. Photo from, 05 Jun 2017 - 16:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union’s External Action Service has released a statement regarding the detention of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who vanished from Tbilisi on May 29 and resurfaced in custody in Baku the next day.

According to the statement, the alleged abduction and illegal arbitrary detention of Azerbaijani nationals, including human rights defenders, residing in Georgia followed by their arrest and prosecution in Azerbaijan, demands a swift, thorough and transparent investigation.

"We welcome the launch of such an investigation in Georgia as announced by its leadership”, the statement says.

It adds that a review by Azerbaijan of any and all cases of incarceration related to the exercise of fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression, and immediate release all of those concerned is urgent, in line with Azerbaijan's international commitments.

"We expect that the due process of law is respected, as well as the civil and political rights of citizens and those residing legally in states other than their own”, the statement says.

It adds that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile".

The European External Action Service says that the EU will continue to follow these cases closely.

Freelance investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was reported missing by his wife in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on the evening of May 29. The next morning local media reported Mukhtarli had ended up in the custody of the Investigative Unit of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan.

Mukhtarli’s lawyer said today that Tbilisi is providing protection for the man’s wife and daughter in the course of the investigation. He added that protection for witnesses is also being considered.