International Day in Support of Victims of Torture #FreeGubad

26 June 2024

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26), Crude Accountability and Publish What You Pay express their deep concern about Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu’s health and well-being, and call on the Government of Azerbaijan to allow him to travel abroad immediately to receive medical treatment he urgently needs.

Dr. Ibadoghlu, a renowned Azerbaijani scholar of political economy and anti-corruption activist, is currently held under house arrest in Baku, where he was transferred on April 22 after nine months in a pre-trial detention facility following a violent arrest on spurious charges on July 23, 2023. 

Dr. Ibadoghlu’s health deteriorated markedly during his lengthy wrongful detention under conditions that violated international standards, including an aortic condition requiring urgent intervention. Despite numerous requests and interventions, the Azerbaijani authorities consistently denied Dr. Ibadoghlu access to adequate medical care, including essential medications. Alarmingly, Dr. Ibadoghlu’s aortic condition has reached a point where his life could be in danger, according to a recent medical evaluation performed by a U.S.-based cardiologist based on a review of available medical records.

The Azerbaijani authorities’ mistreatment of Dr. Ibadoghlu during his wrongful detention and their failure to ensure his access to appropriate medical care amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibited under the UN Convention Against Torture and numerous other international anti-torture standards and instruments to which Azerbaijan is a party. 

Azerbaijan’s international partners, including member states of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), who will be convening in Baku for the UN Climate Change conference in November, international organisations and institutions, such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as companies with business interests in Azerbaijan, should press the government to immediately ensure Dr. Ibadoghlu can travel abroad unhindered and to the country of his choice to receive the medical care he urgently needs. They should also urge the Azerbaijani authorities to lift all charges against Dr. Ibadoghlu and the many other human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society activists held on politically-motivated grounds in Azerbaijan, and call for their immediate and unconditional release.