July 18, 2018
Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Emin Aslan was prevented from boarding a flight out of Azerbaijan in Baku International Airport on Monday morning, he has confirmed to OC Media. Aslan was released 13 days ago after serving 30 days in administrative detention for ‘disobeying police’. His detention in June was condemned at the time by local rights groups as well as the EU Parliament.
Aslan told OC Media he was informed by border agents at the airport that he was subject to a travel ban, something he said he had not previously been told. ‘They informed me that my travel ban was [issued] by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 30 May 2018. This is the date I entered Azerbaijan from the US’, Aslan said.
‘This is a violation of my freedom of movement because I have never been a witness or suspect in any criminal case and I do not have any debt or tax obligation’, he added. Aslan said his lawyers had appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs for more information about the ban.
Aslan, a recent graduate of Syracuse University College of Law in New York State, previously worked for two Tbilisi-based rights groups, the Eastern European Centre for Multiparty Democracy and the Human Rights House Tbilisi. He has helped to litigate a number of cases of alleged human rights abuses of Azerbaijani citizens at the European Court of Human Rights.
Abduction and conviction
Aslan was apprehended in Baku in early June by a group of men in civilian clothes, a week after his return to Azerbaijan. The following day, after local activists reported on his apparent abduction, the authorities informed Aslan’s lawyer that the Narimanov District Court had found him guilty of ‘disobeying police’ and sentenced him to 30 days administrative detention. Aslan was deprived of his right to legal counsel throughout his detention and the court hearings.