By Max Tucker, Azerbaijan campaigner at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London
One year ago, a series of peaceful protests against government repression in Azerbaijan were met with brute force by the authorities. The clampdown that followed resulted in the imprisonment of 17 activists and political figures, 14 of whom (including Tural Abbasli) are still behind bars today.
Shortly afterwards, on 14 May, Azerbaijan’s entry “Running Scared” won the Eurovision song contest, giving Azerbaijan the right to host the 2012 competition.
This was a doubly ironic event.
Firstly, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrates free expression, and is run by the European Broadcasting Union, an organization which claims to champion media freedom. Yet Azerbaijan has one of the worst environments for media and free expression in Europe.
Secondly, the title of Azerbaijan’s entry, “Running Scared,” is exactly what we saw scores of peaceful protesters doing when we visited Azerbaijan only a few weeks earlier, as they were pursued by heavy handed police. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST