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Swiss embassy shelters wanted Azeri activist: Official

13 February 2015 14:15

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A prominent Azeri rights activist, wanted by authorities, is holed up at the Swiss embassy in Baku, an Azeri official says.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hikmet Haciyev, said on Friday that Emin Huseynov is wanted for “illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion since last August.”

“A court ordered Huseynov’s arrest, but he fled and is currently hiding at the Swiss embassy in Baku,” Haciyev added.

Swiss has confirmed that an Azeri national has taken refuge at the European country’s embassy in Baku but has not revealed the identity of the individual.

The Swiss Federal Department for Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said Switzerland has granted the Azeri person authorization to stay at the embassy for “humanitarian reasons.”

The FDFA said Switzerland has been negotiating with the Baku government to find a solution in the interests of Huseynov.

Huseynov is a fierce critic of the Baku government. The 35-year-old activist is the director of the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, a media rights group.

Many activists and independent journalists have been thrown behind bars in Azerbaijan since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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