International coalition marks anniversary of crackdown on rights in Azerbaijan

A year after the Azerbaijani government launched an unprecedented crackdown on human rights including press freedom, the situation in the country continues to deteriorate, the Sports for Rights coalition said today. The coalition of international organizations, including CPJ, released a statement today to mark the anniversary of what is widely described as the worst government campaign against critics that Baku has ever carried out.

The Sport for Rights coalition was formed in the lead-up to the first European Games, which Baku hosted in June. Described as a pet project of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, the Games were marred by the politically motivated arrests and prosecutions of dozens of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil activists. At least eight journalists are currently imprisoned in Azerbaijan in retaliation for their work, including leading investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, whose trial on trumped-up charges began last week.

You can read the full Sports for Rights statement here.