Updated: May 12, 2020
Reports from Azerbaijan indicate that on February 9, 2020, journalists and election observers were attacked during Azerbaijan’s snap parliamentary elections.
The election was held after the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, which had a strong majority in parliament already, announced in late November they intended to dissolve parliament and call an election to aid the ‘reforms led by President Ilham Aliev.’
Footage of an election monitor and law student, Zhala Bayramova being attacked at an election polling station in Azerbaijan on February 9th
Students, journalists, and observers in several polling stations in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, as well as in the southern city of Lankaran, reported being physically prevented from filming. A published video shows Zhala Bayramova, a law student and a local election observer, being strangled and beaten by a woman in civilian clothes.
An observer in the Nasimi District of Baku was also physically prevented from filming by commission members, who told him that only journalists were able to film.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns the attacks on election observers and journalists in Azerbaijan, which has recently experienced a rise in political violence. Students, professors, and academics have been increasingly targeted in violent attacks—an unacceptable trend. Universities are institutions that must embody principles of academic freedom and free expression, values that stand in strong contrast to the actions taken on behalf of the authoritarian regime in power in Azerbaijan.