Stockholm, July 25, 2023—In response to a July 13 judgment by the European Court of Human Rights stating that Azerbaijani authorities violated Emin Huseynov’s human rights when they deprived the journalist and press freedom advocate of his citizenship in 2015, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“We welcome the European Court of Human Rights’ recognition that Azerbaijani authorities violated journalist Emin Huseynov’s rights when they stripped him of his citizenship. However, we regret that the court did not further underline the political and retaliatory nature of authorities’ actions by granting all of Huseynov’s complaints over the incident,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “International institutions must continue to hold authorities in Azerbaijan accountable for their ongoing repression of independent journalism.”
Huseynov, a journalist and director of media freedom group Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, was deprived of his citizenship by presidential decree in June 2015, when he fled Azerbaijan for Switzerland. Previously, Huseynov had spent 10 months in refuge at the Swiss Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, after being placed on a wanted list in connection with criminal proceedings against his media freedom group amid a widespread crackdown on independent media and non-government organizations.
In 2018, CPJ and three partner organizations submitted an amicus brief to the ECHR on Huseynov’s complaint over his loss of citizenship.
In its judgment, the ECHR ruled Azerbaijani authorities had violated Huseynov’s right to respect for his private and family life, and awarded him 4,500 euros (US$4,990) in moral damages.
Huseynov had also sent other petitions to the court, including that the stripping of his citizenship violated his right to freedom of expression and that Azerbaijani authorities had restricted his rights without legitimate reason. However, the ECHR ruled that it did not need to separately examine those complaints.