OCCRP Statement on the Arrest and Abduction of Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli

Afgan Mukhtarli (Photo: Afgan Mukhtarli/Facebook)Afgan Mukhtarli (Photo: Afgan Mukhtarli/Facebook) Afgan Mukhtarli is an Azerbaijani journalist, living in Georgia, who has worked with both OCCRP partner MeydanTV and with OCCRP. The Tbilisi-based journalist disappeared off the streets near his home on May 29 and was next seen in custody in his native Azerbaijan, where he has been charged with crossing the border illegally, carrying 10,000 euros in undeclared currency, and resisting border guards.

Through his lawyer, Mukhtarli denies all charges and claims he was kidnapped, beaten, had money stuffed in his pockets, taken to the border, and handed over to Azerbaijan authorities.

OCCRP will continue to work for the release of Afgan Mukhtarli. His arrest is an affront to international rule of law and his kidnapping is a crime in Georgia.

Mukhtarli has been working on stories on the business holdings of the family of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev in Georgia. OCCRP will continue his work on these stories until his release.

When OCCRP partner, journalist Khadija Ismayilova, was arrested in Baku in 2014, OCCRP continued her work and published the Khadija Project, a series of investigative stories about the corruption of the Aliyev family, while she was in prison.

The message is clear. You can arrest one of our reporters, but a dozen will take their place. The truth will get out.