Religious leader from Georgian Azerbaijani community arrested in Azerbaijan

A religious leader from Marneuli, a Georgian community of primarily ethnic Azerbaijanis, was arrested while crossing the Georgian-Azerbaijani border. He was sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention on alleged charges of hooliganism and disobeying the orders of a police officer.

Mirtagi Asadov, head of the ‘Supreme Administration of Georgian Muslims’, was arrested on 7 November on the way to visit his Baku-based family.

His wife, Shahana Hajiyeva, said that her husband called her to inform her about his arrest but that she then lost contact for more than five days. Despite contacting the Ministry of Internal Affair’s Department for Organized Crime twice daily and seeking the assistance of the Georgian Embassy in Azerbaijan, she could not obtain any information about his whereabouts.

She later learned that on 8 November, the Narimanov District Court had sentenced her husband to 30 days of administrative arrest, allegedly for hooliganism and not following police orders.

Asadov, who reportedly renounced his Azerbaijani citizenship two years ago, regularly traveled to Azerbaijan. According to his wife, he never experienced any problems during previous trips.

In Georgia, Asadov advocated for the religious rights of Muslims, particularly regarding property rights of places of worship, and independence from state control over Muslim communities.