240 organisations and individuals demand the release of detained, anti-corruption advocate, Gubad Ibadoghlu

Vienna, 7 May, 2024 – In a concerted display of international solidarity, 240 organisations, academics and human rights defenders today published an open letter demanding the release of detained anti-corruption expert, Gubad Ibadoghlu, who is currently under house arrest in Azerbaijan.

Dr. Ibadoghlu is a prominent anti-corruption advocate, UK resident and visiting scholar at the London School of Economics (LSE). Azerbaijani authorities detained him on 23 July 2023 on unsubstantiated charges of money counterfeiting and connection to terrorism, and he was held in pre-trial detention for 9 months before being released to house arrest on 22 April 2024. His trial is due to commence on 20 May.

“The UNCAC Coalition and 239 additional signatories emphatically demand the immediate and unconditional release of our friend and colleague, Gubad Ibadoghlu”, said Mathias Huter, Managing Director of the UNCAC Coalition.

“Gubad is a member of our network and a prominent voice in the global anti-corruption movement. The charges against him are baseless, and appear to be an attempt by Azeri authorities to undermine civil society and silence critical, anti-corruption voices.”

Dr. Ibadoghlu suffers from diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, all of which significantly worsened during his time in prison due to inadequate care from Azerbaijani authorities. He is now at serious risk of suffering a heart attack if he does not receive suitable medical attention swiftly.

Gubad is a prominent anti-corruption advocate in Azerbaijan. He has exposed significant corruption in the country’s oil and gas sectors, advocated for budget transparency, and promoted the seizure of assets stolen and stashed offshore by Azeri oligarchs. He also set up an educational foundation in the UK to convert seized assets into scholarships for Azeri students.

“It is appalling that a man who has dedicated his life to promoting the welfare of the Azeri people is now suffering such dire consequences. The charges against Gubad have no substance and Azeri authorities should drop them immediately”, said Huter.

Today’s open letter is signed by 164 organisations and 76 high-profile individuals, including Transparency International and Publish What You Pay (PWYP), among others.

The letter has been sent to Azeri authorities and to governments watching this case around the world. Among those receiving the letter are the United States, the current President of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties; the United Kingdom, where Gubad was residing upon his arrest; and the European Union, whose Parliament recently passed a resolution calling for European institutions to do more to support Gubad’s case.

“The UNCAC Coalition calls on the international community to take swift and decisive action to protect the health and freedom of Gubad Ibadoghlu and all other political prisoners currently languishing in Azerbaijan’s jails. We call on Azerbaijan – as the host for the upcoming COP climate conference – to respect its international human rights obligations and guarantee a safe and enabling environment for civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders”, Huter concluded.

About the UNCAC Coalition

The UNCAC Coalition is a global network of more than 400 civil society organisations that works to promote monitoring and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). It stands as one of the world’s largest and most active anti-corruption civil society networks.

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