Amnesty International and Sing for Democracy have told top-selling artists Rihanna and Shakira to open their eyes to the human rights abuses inflicted on the people of Azerbaijan before they perform in the country’s capital later this month. The two singers are appearing in Baku during the current FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
In a joint letter, the organisations highlight the ban on anti-government protests in the centre of Baku, the unsolved killing of reporter Elmar Huseynov, who was murdered in 2005, and the multiple arrests and persecution of journalists, bloggers and political activists.
‘Both singers should be aware of the situation in the country post-Eurovision,’ the letter says. ‘This includes the spurious criminal case against photo-journalist Mehman Huseynov on trumped up hooliganism charges.
‘Amnesty International believes that the Azerbaijani government should afford all artists, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens the right to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal. We hope that you share our belief.’