Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli was detained by police yesterday at Baku airport while on his way to speak at the Incroci di Civiltà festival in Venice.
While according to the Turan news agency, who quoted official information from the ministry of internal affairs, Aylisli’s detention was “in connection with the conflict he had stirred with the staff of the border service”, Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship, argued that the action constituted the latest development in “Azerbaijan’s recent record of detaining its critics”.
Rebecca Vincent, coordinator of the Sport for Rights campaign, which works to highlight human rights issues in Azerbaijan, affirmed that Aylisli’s detention “shows that the vicious cycle of politically motivated arrests continues in Azerbaijan, undermining any goodwill generated by the releases of 16 political prisoners over the past two weeks”.
Once a popular and decorated writer in his native Azerbaijan, Aylisli became the subject of anger and heavy criticism upon the publication of his novella Stone Dreams in late 2012. Stone Dreams centres on the pogroms of Armenians in Baku in 1989 and the massacres of Armenians by Azeris. Following the publication of the novella, Aylisli’s title of People’s Writer was withdrawn and his works were removed from school curriculums. Many of his books were publicly burned and a reward was offered to anyone who would cut off his ear, while his wife and son both lost their jobs.
Source: The Guardian