AZERBAIJAN: 2015 European Games

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MARCH 18: Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inspects the stadium during the opening of the Baku Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan on March 18, 2015. The first European Games will be held in Baku Olympic Stadium. (Photo by Azerbaijaini Presidency / Vugar Amrullayev/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

‘All fundamental freedoms are honoured in Azerbaijan,’ said President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in June 2014. Solemn words. But not true.

In Azerbaijan, human rights defenders, journalists, politicians and bloggers are arrested, detained and silenced. While the spotlights are on the country during the first European Games in June 2015, the repression only gets worse. New laws enable the Azeri authorities to stifle any form of criticism. At least 20 people are detained because they peacefully exercized their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

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