From 12-28 June, the European Games are happening in Baku, Azerbaijan. The eyes of the world will fall on a country with one of the worst freedom of expression records in the world. Twelve Azerbaijani journalists and bloggers are currently imprisoned, more than any other country in all of Eastern or Western Europe.
These Games are a unique opportunity to shame the Azerbaijani government for this pernicious behaviour. Please join the 'Sport for Rights' campaign in flooding the official #Baku2015 hashtag during the games with tweets condemning Azerbaijan's freedom of expression record and demanding freedom for these unjustly imprisoned defenders of free expression.
The high point of international media attention will occur during the opening ceremonies of the games this Friday 12 June, so send out your tweets on this day through 28 June so that international media, corporate sponsors and governments take notice.
Together we can light up the twittersphere and tell the world about the real #Baku2015!
See below for notable cases, sample tweets and images you can use in your social media campaign:
Chairman of IFEX member the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Emin Huseynov has been forced into hiding in the Swiss embassy since mid-2014, unable to leave the country or carry out his work due to trumped up charges of tax evasion, embezzlement and abuse of power.
Emin Huseynov trapped in the Swiss embassy during #baku2015 - the real Azerbaijan http://sportforrights.org/fact/emin-huseynov/
The trial begins of human rights organisation IRFS - this is the real #baku2015 #hellobaku http://sportforrights.org/fact/emin-huseynov/
An award-winning investigative journalist for Radio Free Europe, Khadija Ismayilova has been in jail since December 2014, unjustly imprisoned for her work exposing the corrupt dealings of President Aliyev and his family. After several failed attempts to silence her, from blackmail to physical harassment, the regime has resorted to ludicrous charges of “incitement to suicide” to put her in jail.
Nothing to celebrate at the Euro Games while free expression is silenced. Free Khadija Ismayilova now! #baku2015 http://sportforrights.org/fact/khadija-ismayilova-2/
Founder of the Art for Democracy movement and Chairman of the Human Rights Club, Rasul Jafarov was recently sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison on trumped up charges, likely as retribution for his work compiling a comprehensive list of political prisoners.
Can we get a ref call that jailing those who speak for the powerless is foul play? Free Rasul Jafaroy now! #baku2015 http://sportforrights.org/fact/rasul-jafarov-2/