Wednesday 15 July 2020

Man, denied refugee status, is jailed on return to Azerbaijan

The IND offices in The Hague. Photo:

An Azerbaijani man, ordered out of the Netherlands after his application for refugee status failed earlier this month, has been arrested and jailed for 30 days, the NRC said on Wednesday.

Natig Isbatov, who spoke out against the Azerbaijan regime on social media, fled to the Netherlands with his brother Anar Bayramov, a political activist, in 2017.

Both Amnesty International and refugee group Vluchtelingenwerk have urged the Dutch government to investigate the arrest and say they are concerned Isbatov will be tortured in jail.

Isbatov, 32, organised the low profile return trip for himself, wife and two children in an effort to avoid drawing the attention of the authorities but was arrested two days after his return, the NRC said.

According to the police, he was ‘shouting’ on the street when he was picked up. Vluchtelingenwerk, however, suggests, he may have been arrested on fake charges.

The organisation says the government must be much more careful when judging refugee applications from journalists and activists, who have to provide hard evidence that they are being persecuted.

‘This is not the first time a refugee has been arrested after his deportation,’ the organisation said, referring to Ali Mohammed Al Showaikh, a Bahrani man who was sentenced to life in jail on his return to Bahrein.

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