LONDON — Amnesty International says two of its delegates have been detained when trying to enter Azerbaijan and then expelled from the country.
The London-based group said the two Georgian nationals were deported from the country by immigration officials upon their arrival at the airport in Baku on October 7.
Azerbaijan has come under growing criticism for a deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders and a crackdown on opposition.
Amnesty said the deportation of its staff “adds to a sad litany of journalists and human rights defenders being targeted, detained, and jailed simply for carrying out their work.”
“There is no let-up in the government’s repressive campaign to stifle all criticism and dissent,” the advocacy group added.
On Tuesday, the Council of Europe’s secretary-general, Thorbjorn Jagland decided to withdraw the council’s participation in the joint working group on human rights issues in Azerbaijan.
The working group included human rights defenders, members of Azerbaijan’s parliament, and officials of the presidential administration.
Despite this initiative, the Council of Europe said, “the overall situation of human rights defenders in the country has deteriorated dramatically.”
“An increasing number of human right defenders has recently been imprisoned, and the Council of Europe has received worrying reports about unacceptable detention conditions, the statement added.