HRWF publishes an annual prisoners database to document FoRB prisoners around the world. We currently document prisoners in over twenty countries. To view the full 2016 prisoners list, click here.

HRWF 2016 Annual Report


“Azerbaijan is sometimes referred to as the first secular republic in the Muslim world. Even still, religious observance is relatively low, and Muslim identity tends to be more grounded in culture and ethnicity than in religion practice.

In Azerbaijan’s 1995 Constitution, internationally recognised human rights are guaranteed and fully supported. In Article 151, the constitution goes as far as to prioritise international treaties and international law over the domestic national law if the two are to conflict.

As a participatory state in many international agreements, the status of human rights and religious or belief prisoners should in theory be protected by the Azerbaijani state. In practice, however, various criminal codes and laws contravene these rights and restrict the freedom of association, worship, and assembly of non-registered religious organizations, the production and import of religious literature, and conscientious objection to military service on religious grounds.[1] In 2016, these restrictions have resulted in the imprisonment of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims, Sunni and Shia alike, as well as followers of the Turkish theologian Said Nursi…”

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