Two of emigre blogger Ordukhan Teymurkhan’s relatives have been arrested in Baku, according to their lawyer Elchin Sadigov.
On 19 February, Sabuhi Zeynalov and Tural Aliyev were both sentenced to 30 days administrative detention for allegedly failing to obey the orders of a police officer. Defense lawyer Sadigov has not been able to meet with his clients and has not been informed where they are being held.
Zeynalov is the nephew of Ordukhan Teymurkhan, a video blogger and political activist who lives in the Netherlands and is often critical of Azerbaijan. Aliyev is also a close relative.
A year ago, on 18 February 2017, twelve of Ordukhan Teymurkhan’s family members were detained by the police, including the blogger’s sisters and his two-year-old niece. The detentions occurred the same day that Teymurkhan attended a “Free Political Prisoners” rally in Cologne, Germany. The head of the Surakhani District Police Station, Namig Hasanov, reportedly told Teymurkhan by phone, “Stop your activity, shut down your Facebook page, and then we will release your relatives.”
In March 2017, Human Rights Watch released a statement condemning the harassment of Teymurkhan’s family, an intimidation tactic that Azerbaijani authorities have used many times. “Azerbaijani authorities should immediately end this collective punishment of activists’ family members, and Azerbaijan’s international partners should publicly condemn such actions,” the statement reads.
Later, in April of that year, a number of Teymurkhan’s relatives signed an appeal to President Ilham Aliyev disowning Teymurkhan and condemning his political activism. Signatories to the statement included the blogger’s brother and sisters.