Photo Credits: OCCRP
Endangered Scholars Worldwide learned that on July 23rd, 2023, a fellow New University in Exile member, Azerbaijani economist and opposition party leader, Gubad Ibadoghlu was detained on currency charges upon his arrival back into Azerbaijan. According to Reuters, Azerbaijani police claim to have found $40,000 in an apartment registered under Dr. Ibadoghlu’s name in violation of a law on counterfeit currency (it is not clear if the currency allegedly found there is counterfeit). According to his lawyer, Zibeyda Sadigova, the court ordered him to remain in detention for 3 months and 26 days as he awaits trial. Gubad Ibadoghlu, who is the head of the Democracy and Welfare Party, denies the accusation. Dr. Ibadoghlu's party is not represented in the parliament of Azerbaijan, a country led by its authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev.
Dr. Ibadoghlu is an internationally respected economist having most recently been a Visiting Fellow and Senior Economist at the London School of Economics from September 2021 to June 2023. Previously, he was a Senior Visiting Scholar at the Rutgers University Center for European Studies, a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, and a Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. He is a member of International Board for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI); Chairman of Board of Azerbaijan Think Tank Alliance (ATTA), member of Strategy Advisory Board of CAREC Think Tank Network (CTTN), member of Working Groups on "Grand Corruption and State Capture" and "Asset Stolen Recovery" of the UNCAC Coalition – Association for the Implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption and local expert in Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan (IAP) 5th Round of Monitoring Assessment Framework of the OECD.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned with Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu’s detention and condemns his arbitrary detainment and charges under which he is held. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Dr. Ibadoghlu and to fulfill its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that that enshrines the right to free association and of which Azerbaijan is a signatory. ESW calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights and academic freedom to strongly protest and condemn the actions of Aliyev’s regime; and to appeal for Dr. Ibadoghlu’s immediate and unconditional release.