The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Ukrainian authorities to “immediately” return the Dutch passport of a journalist who fled his homeland of Azerbaijan a decade ago, and stop any extradition procedures against him.
In a statement on April 4, the New York-based media watchdog urged Kyiv's regional prosecutor's office to comply with a court's ruling that Fikret Huseynli be allowed to move freely.
"Ukraine must not succumb to the demands of Azerbaijan's authoritarian regime, which is notorious for persecuting critics both at home and abroad," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said.
On April 2, a Kyiv district court judge ruled that the journalist should not be extradited to Azerbaijan or have his movements restricted.
Earlier, Kyiv prosecutor Serhiy Ostapets took Huseynli's passport from a court secretary and left the courtroom without waiting to hear the court decision, according to the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
Huseynli, a correspondent for the independent Azerbaijani online television channel Turan, fled to the Netherlands in early 2008 after he was stabbed, beaten, and left for dead by unknown assailants in Baku in 2006. He was later granted political asylum by the Dutch government and obtained Dutch citizenship.
In October 2017, Ukrainian authorities stopped Huseynli from boarding a flight to Germany at Boryspil International Airport, seizing his documents under an Interpol red notice requested by the Azerbaijani government. It accused him of "crossing a border illegally" and "fraud."