Feb 16, 2017

Talysh: Exiled Journalist Fears for Life if he Returns to Azerbaijan

Photo courtesy of tert.am.

Shahin Mirzaev, a prominent Talysh journalist and member of the Talysh freedom movement, has spoken about the repressive policies that the Talysh face in Azerbaijan today, and about his reasons to apply for a temporary asylum in Armenia. Mirzaev fled Azerbaijan recently with his family to escape religious and ethnic persecution. According to him “it can be stated that [Talyshistan] is in a blockade”, with a total media blackout. He also tells how those who dare to speak of themselves as Talysh are jailed or killed. Mirzaev is convinced his return to Azerbaijan would also mean death.

The article below was published by Armenpress:

Member of Talysh Cultural Council, participant of Talysh freedom movement, journalist at the “Tolishi Sado” newspaper Shahin Mirzoev, who moved to Armenia with his family and requested for temporary asylum from the Armenian leadership, was taking part in the workshop entitled “The Breakthrough of the blockade of Stepanakert: 25 years later” in Yerevan, reports “Armenpress”.

He delivered a speech at the workshop stating that living in Azerbaijan was risky for him and his family. “I have escaped from the clutches of death in Azerbaijan. Returning again there is a death for me. But I made no mistake in coming to Armenia”, he said.

He said Talyshistan today has the same fate which is now referred to Karabakh. “It can be stated that it is in blockade. Talysh people today in Azerbaijan don’t have an access to any TV or radio, they are unable to raise their issues of concern. Demanding a radio, TV, textbooks on your own language in Azerbaijan means to become a separatist and traitor to the people. Those, who somehow spoke about themselves as being a Talysh, are being jailed or killed. More than 300.000 Talysh people escaped to Russia from Azerbaijan since they are persecuted. More than 2 million Talysh people live in Azerbaijan, how they can be killed, and the world simply follow this from aside?” he said.

The Armenian MFA on February 11 announced that the Armenian leadership received a request from Shahin Mirzoev for temporary asylum, since as a member of Talysh Cultural Council, Talysh freedom movement, journalist at the “Tolishi Sado” newspaper, he was obliged to flee from Azerbaijan due to the persecutions against ethnic and religious minorities and gross violations of their rights, and to arrive to Armenia with his family. Armenian leadership reacted positively to the request of Shahin Mirzoev.