Welcoming the Release of Civil Society Activists in Azerbaijan

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 22, 2014


The United States welcomes the October 17 pardon and release of four civil society activists in Azerbaijan, including Hasan Huseynli. Prior to his conviction in July on questionable hooliganism charges, Huseynli and his NGO worked with the U.S. Embassy in Baku on student exchanges and educational advising.  Three young members of the N!DA Civic Movement, Bakhtiyar Guliyev, Shahin Novruzlu, and Elsever Mursalli, were also released.  While we welcome this development, new legislation passed the same day further restricting the activities of both local and foreign NGOs in Azerbaijan is a step in the wrong direction.  We hope to see more positive steps and continue to urge the Government of Azerbaijan to fully respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms.  Long-term stability is possible only when all Azerbaijanis are guaranteed the basic freedoms to which they are entitled under Azerbaijan’s international obligations.