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Congressman Chris Smith: Urgent Appeal to Release Azerbaijani Economist from Life-Threatening Imprisonment


The current situation of Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, a well-known Azerbaijani economist, and academic, is highly concerning as his health condition has deteriorated significantly after he was unjustly arrested and imprisoned on July 23, 2020. In response, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith has made an appeal to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to release Dr. Ibadoghlu from his life-threatening imprisonment. This blog post delves into the details of Dr. Ibadoghlu’s case and the efforts made to secure his release.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., speaks during a hearing on genocide in Iraq and Syria held Oct. 3 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Smith, who is senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired the hearing. (CNS photo/Erin Granzow, House Office of Photography) See HEARING-PERSECUTED-CHRISTIANS Oct. 4, 2017.

Dr. Ibadoghlu has been a vocal critic of the current Azerbaijani government and has worked towards greater transparency and accountability in the country. However, instead of appreciating his efforts to improve the country, he was arrested and imprisoned on false charges. He is currently being deprived of essential medicines required to control acute diabetes, a throat infection, and high blood pressure while sharing a cell with dangerous criminals who pose a significant risk to his health and well-being.

In response to this, Rep. Smith has explicitly called on President Aliyev to release Dr. Ibadoghlu immediately. According to Rep. Smith, the current situation is a direct threat to Dr. Ibadoghlu’s life, and if anything were to happen to him, President Aliyev would bear full responsibility for his death. Rep. Smith has also pointed out that the Azerbaijani government has a record of human rights violations that can no longer be ignored. He has urged President Aliyev to release Dr. Ibadoghlu and provide him with the necessary medical attention.

Dr. Ibadoghlu’s imprisonment has sparked outrage in the international community, with many members of international civil society, scholars, and intellectuals joining the calls for his release. The case has been highlighted by the Washington Post, and many have pointed out that his imprisonment is part of a broader trend of suppressing dissent and criticism by the Azerbaijani government.

Rep. Smith has a long history of advocating for human rights in Azerbaijan, and he has consistently spoken out against Azerbaijan’s persecution of intellectuals and activists. He has previously called for the release of blogger Mehman Huseynov in 2015 and 2019, and in 2015, he chaired the hearing, “Azerbaijan’s Persecution of RFE/RL Reporter Khadija Ismayilova.” Moreover, in the same year, he introduced the Azerbaijan Democracy Act to promote rule of law and respect for human rights in the country.

Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu’s situation is a matter of grave concern, and his unjust imprisonment is a clear violation of human rights. The Azerbaijani government must release him immediately and provide him with the necessary medical attention to avoid further deterioration of his health. The case highlights the increasing suppression of dissent and criticism in Azerbaijan, and the international community must address this issue urgently to ensure that basic human rights are protected. Rep. Smith’s appeal is a strong message to President Aliyev that the world is watching, and he must act swiftly to ensure that Dr. Ibadoghlu’s fundamental human rights are protected.


Free Gubad Ibadoglu

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