International Civil Society Calls for the Immediate and Unconditional Release of Professor Gubad Ibadoghlu in Azerbaijan

Prominent economist Professor Gubad Ibadoghlu was brutally beaten and arrested on July 23, 2023 and is being held on trumped up charges. We call for his immediate and unconditional release.

We, the undersigned members of international civil society, condemn the unjust arrest and imprisonment of Gubad Ibadoghlu by the Azerbaijani authorities. We urge the international community to take immediate and decisive action to hold the government of Azerbaijan accountable for this egregious human rights violation. We demand that the government of Azerbaijan immediately and unconditionally release Ibadoghlu.

Ibadoghlu was arrested on July 23rd in Baku, Azerbaijan on trumped-up charges of manufacturing and selling counterfeit money as part of an organized group. The charge carries a punishment of eight to twelve years of imprisonment. These accusations are clearly fabricated and follow a pattern of officially sanctioned violence against and harassment of opposition figures in the country.

According to his family, Ibadoghlu and his wife, Irada Bayramli, were traveling by car in Baku when they were surrounded by vehicles, forcibly removed from their vehicle by individuals claiming to be government officials, and brutally beaten. Ibadoghlu was initially taken to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (MDCOC) in Baku, a department notorious for its history of mistreatment and torture of political prisoners. As a result of the assault, Bayramli sustained bruises; little is known about the extent of Ibadoghlu’s injuries.

According to his family, Ibadoghlu is currently being held in the Kurdekhani pretrial detention center outside of Baku. Family members tried to deliver toiletries, clothing, and other necessities to him on July 25th, and were told by the detention center that Ibadoghlu was not there, although his lawyer confirmed that he was transported to the detention center on the evening of July 24th.  In an initial court decision, Ibadoghlu was sentenced to 3 months and 26 days “preventive detention” while the investigation is ongoing.

Ibadoghlu’s health, already fragile due to diabetes and high blood pressure, is at immediate risk as he has been denied regular access to his medication, which is critical to his health. 

“The situation is urgent,” said Emin Bayramli, Ibadoghlu’s son. “With every passing hour, my dad’s condition is getting worse. He is at risk of a heart attack or a stroke because of his diabetes. They have not let him take any of his medication. I urge everyone–we are in a fight against time. The Azerbaijani government has serious intentions of killing him.”

Professor Ibadoghlu is a world-renowned academic and economist dedicated to promoting democracy, transparency, and accountability. He holds a PhD in Economics from the Azerbaijan State University of Economics. He served as a civil society representative to the international board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and has served in various capacities for Azerbaijani and international civil society organizations. He was a visiting fellow and professor at numerous universities, including at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ, and Rutgers University, where he was a visiting post-doc fellow at the Center for European Studies and taught courses in the Department of Political Science and Economics. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate and unconditional release of Gubad Ibadoghlu. We urge the international community to hold the Azerbaijani government accountable for its actions and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ibadoghlu while safeguarding the rights and dignity of all civil society representatives in the country. 


  1. Kate Watters, Crude Accountability, USA
  2. The Baroness Cox, Independent member of the House of Lords, UK Parliament
  3. Sebastien Peyrouse, George Washington University, USA
  4. Tom Mayne, University of Oxford, UK
  5. Leanne Grossman, Naturalist, USA
  6. Sam Jones and Richard Stazinski, Heartland Initiative, USA
  7. Pavel Sapelko, Human Rights Center Viasna, Belarus
  8. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak FBA, Professor, Columbia University, USA
  9. Eva Pils, King’s College London, UK
  10. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics, UK
  11. Edward Lemon, Texas A&M University, USA
  12. Melissa Feinberg, Rutgers University, USA
  13. Dr Andreas Fulda, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, UK
  14. Peter Trubowitz, London School of Economics, UK
  15. John Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics

London School of Economics, UK

  1. Tolekan Ismailova, Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan,” Kyrgyzstan
  2. Rohan Mukherjee, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics, UK
  3. Katharine Millar, London School of Economics, UK
  4. Professor John Heathershaw, University of Exeter, UK
  5. Tatiana Glushkova, Human Rights Defence Centre “Memorial” 
  6. Tomila Lankina, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics, UK
  7. Iskra Kirova, Advocacy Director Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights Watch
  8. Emin Huseynov, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety and Human Rights Club
  9. Nancy A. Hewitt, Prof Emerita, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ, USA
  10. Ucha Nanuashvili, Human Rights Center, Georgia
  11. Tadzhigul Begmedova, Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Bulgaria
  12. Vasiĺ Sankovič, The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Belarus/Lithuania
  13. Karl Horberg, Freedom Now, USA
  14. Ivar Dale, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Norway
  15. Maryna Zastavna, International Partnership for Human Rights, Belgium
  16. Anki Wetterhall, Swedish OSCE-network, Sweden
  17. Lenur Kerymov, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland
  18. Krassimir Kanev, Chairperson, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Bulgaria
  19. Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Kazakhstan
  20. Julia Johnson, UK
  21. Manana Kochladze, Central and East European Bankwatch Network
  22. Dr Tena Prelec, University of Rijeka, Croatia 
  23. Steve Swerdlow, Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights, University of Southern California, USA
  24. Raul Uporov, Kazakhstan 
  25. Neil Tangri, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, USA
  26. Lukpan Akhmedyarov, Public Union “Abyroi,” Kazakhstan
  27. Sergey Solyanik, environmental activist, Kazakhstan
  28. Anara Ibrayeva, Public Association “Dignity,” Kazakhstan
  29. Eldar Zeynalov, Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
  30. Jennifer Castner, The Altai Project, USA
  31. Belinda Davis, Rutgers University, USA
  32. Prof. Samuel Greene FacSS, Professor of Russian Politics, King’s College London, UK
  33. Judith Gerson, Professor Emerita, Rutgers University, USA
  34. Sophia Appelbaum, Japan
  35. Todd Wolfson, Professor of Media Studies and President of AAUP-AFT, Rutgers University, USA
  36. Charles Becker, Economics, Duke University, USA
  37. James Ashley Morrison, Associate Professor, International Relations Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  38. James Nixey, Chatham House, UK
  39. Natalia Taubina, Public Verdict, Russia
  40. Dr Zbigniew Wojnowski, University of Oxford, UK
  41. Casey Kearney, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  42. Thomas Da Costa Vieira, London School of Economics, UK
  43.  John Chalcraft, Professor of Middle East History and Politics, Government Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  44. Dr Theresa Squatrito, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  45. Dr Martin Bayly, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  46. Christopher R Hughes, Professor Emeritus, International Relations, London School of Economics, UK
  47. Professor Karen E. Smith, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  48. Dr Jody LaPorte, University of Oxford, UK
  49. Nikhil Kalyanpur, London School of Economics, UK
  50. Nicholas Rennie, Associate Professor & Undergraduate Director, Department of Germanic, Russian & East European Languages & Literatures, Rutgers University, USA
  51. Kaisha Atakhanova and Vadim Ni, NGO Social EcoFund, Kazakhstan 
  52. Boram Lee, London School of Economics, Republic of Korea
  53. Maia Holtermann Entwistle, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Relations, LSE, UK
  54. Giorgi Marjanishvili, Center for Participation and Developments, Tbilisi, Georgia
  55. Catherine Gegout, Associate Professor in International Relations, University of Nottingham, UK
  56. Patrick Conway, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  57. Bruce Caldwell, Duke University, USA
  58. Prof. Curtis R. Taylor, Duke University, USA
  59. Uranija Pirovska, Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Macedonia
  60. Anna Blank, People in Need, Czechia
  61. Erida Skendaj, Albanian Helsinki Committee, Albania
  62. Audrey Altstadt, Professor of History, UMass Amherst, USA
  63. Catherine Cosman, USA
  64. Craig Oliphant, Foreign Policy Center, UK
  65. Galina Chernova, Globus, Kazakhstan
  66. Dr. Alexander Morrison, New College, Oxford, UK