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anar-memmedli-1Political arrests were launched on the day Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain William Hague visited Azerbaijan. Anar Mammadli, a chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center independently dealing with monitoring and observation of elections, a former member of the Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership and a civil society activist, was arrested.

Anar Mammadli’s arrest is of political character. Thus, he prepared a great number of data and video recordings disclosing election fraud during the monitoring and observation of the Presidential elections took place in 9 October 2013 and presented them to international organizations. Regarding the above activities, government officials filed spurious charges and a pre-trial detention of 3 months against him with the judgment of Nasimi District Court under the provisions 192.2.2 (making a large amount of incomes through illegal entrepreneurship activities) and 213.1 (avoidance from payment of a significant amount of taxes or mandatory state social insurance contributions) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

All human rights defenders consider Anar Mammadli’s arrest of political character as non-governmental organizations are engaged in non-commercial activities. Taking into account that the organization run by Anar Mammadli is engaged in grant activities we can find his accusation of illegal entrepreneurship is fabricated. On the other hand, Anar Mammadli has issued and presented to the society unbiased opinions and reports on the outputs of elections took place in the country by now. Anar Mammadli has taken part in the monitoring of 12 elections held in the country and implementation of programs and activities aimed at raising voter turnout and awareness of voters, as well as preparation of materials and reports during those elections. The state registration of the NGO chaired by Anar Mammadli was abolished by court decision on the claims of the Ministry of Justice.

Besides, relevant government authorities refuse of the registration of non-governmental organizations dealing with the protection of human rights in Azerbaijan. In such a case, those NGOs have to get registered individually with the tax authorities to implement their activities. Later, this situation is used as a means against those organizations. In this context, charges filed against Anar Mammadli on illegal entrepreneurship activities and abuse of powers are inacceptable. Civil society organizations condemn Anar Mammadli’s arrest and are concerned of next arrests. Civil society representatives and embassies of western countries in Azerbaijan expressed their concerns regarding the situation.

Two members of the organization (Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadli) have already been invited to the General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes Investigation Department and involved in the investigations. Probably, they will also be arrested.

It would be better to point out that Anar Mammadli studied Germanic philology at bachelor and master levels at Azerbaijan University of Languages in 1995-2002. In 2001-2008, he worked as a chief executive officer and a director of the Election Monitoring Center. After the liquidation of the EMC by court decision in 2008, Anar Mammadli became a co-founder and presently, is a chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center.


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