By: Emily Green
Impunity Watch Executive Director
Emin Aslan is a human rights lawyer and native of Azerbaijan. He returned home on May 30th after completing his graduate education at Syracuse University College of Law. After being in the country for only four days, Aslan was detained by police.
Aslan was in a cafe with his fiancé when he was approached by plain-clothed police officers. He was put in a car by a unit of the country’s interior ministry that purportedly deals with organized crime, and his whereabouts were unknown for more than twelve hours.
The next day, the Department for Combating Organized Crime confirmed with lawyer Elchin Sadigov that it was holding Aslan, but Sadigov was not allowed to see him. That day, Aslan was accused of “disobeying police” in local court and sentenced to a thirty day administrative detention. However, his family and friends report that Aslan fully cooperated with police so the real reason for his detention is unknown.
Aslan holds an undergraduate degree in law from Baku State University and LLM degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He has worked with a number of non-governmental organizations both in Azerbaijan and elsewhere. Also, he has worked on a range of cases for the European Court of Human Rights including freedom to assembly, torture, election, freedom of speech and others.
Outside of his work as a lawyer, Aslan has written for several Azerbaijani publications on democracy, human rights, culture and history. He has previous affiliations with Human Rights House in Tbilisi, American Bar Association, Media Rights Institute, as well as the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
Additionally, Aslan founded the platform “Thinking Citizen Lab” in Georgia in 2016. This initiative focused on alternative education targeting ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Georgia and served as an intellectual and cultural platform.
Although Aslan will remain in police custody for the next thirty days, the sentence of administrative detention left his family with some hope that he will be released at the end of his term.
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