Troubled Partner: Growing Authoritarianism in Azerbaijan

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 14:00 to 16:15
Capitol Visitor Center Senate Room 201-200

The United States and Azerbaijan have many shared interests and cooperate on many issues, including energy and regional security.  There is growing concern, however, about the current political situation in Azerbaijan.  Trends include reported intimidation, arrests, and use of force against journalists and human rights activists; tough new NGO registration requirements; legal restrictions on the Internet, including criminalizing online “libel” and “abuse”; restrictions on freedom of assembly, forceful dispersion of unsanctioned protests, detention of demonstrators; and unfair administration of justice, including arbitrary arrest and detention, politically motivated imprisonment, lack of due process, lengthy pre-trial detention, and executive interference in the judiciary.

Azerbaijan will hold a presidential election in October of this year.  This briefing is an opportunity to discuss current events in Azerbaijan and the prospects for a free and fair election.

The following witnesses are scheduled to participate:

Mr. Thomas Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Mr. Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States

Dr. Samad Seyidov, Chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee, National Assembly of Azerbaijan

Mr. Eldar Namavoz, Leader of the "EL" Movement, Head of the Executive Office of the National Council of Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan

Mr. Erkin Gadirli, Chairman of the Assembly, Republican Alternative (ReAl)

Dr. Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy