State Department reacts on Said Nuri’s case : “Allow Nuri depart the country immediately”

Washington on Wednesday reacted to the reports regarding a US citizen being barred from leaving Azerbaijan.

Said Nuri, 32 year-old Azeri native, was prevented by local officials at Baku international airport, as he was about to depart after having visited his family on a two weeks tourist visa issued by the Azeri Embassy in Washington, DC.

“The airport officials, without providing any sufficient details, told me that I can’t leave the country, citing a stop request about me, which was issued by the National Security Ministry and prosecutor-general’s office,” Nuri told TURAN.

After leaving the airport, Nuri headed to the US Embassy in Baku for assistance, however, according to him, the Azerbaijani officials“turned down” the diplomatic corps’ request on his case, arguing, “no one has right to interfere into the country’s internal situation, as Nuri also was an Azeri citizen”…

In response to TURAN’s Washington DC correspondent’s request, State Department Press Office issued the following:

“We are aware of reports that a US citizen has been denied exit from Azerbaijan.

We provide all possible consular services to US citizens in need of assistance abroad.
Privacy considerations prevent us from commenting further.”

Being a former political prisoner Said left Azerbaijan several years ago and was granted US citizenship in 2012. Since then, he has visited his family four times with his US passport on Azeri Embassy visa.

“My father is severely ill and I had to come and see him this time, even though it wasn’t easy for me to get the visa from the [Azeri] Embassy. They granted me a visa with a few days delay,” Nuri said, adding that he feels “completely defenseless” under current situation.

“I’m so upset… I don’t know what to do… I urgently need a lawyer,” he told TURAN’s Washington correspondent, asking for help from the international rights groups:

“I hear rumors that the government is planning to arrest me under unfounded criminal charges.

The move comes at the time when the government has detained a numbers of prominent human rights activists, prompting fears that authorities are intensifying efforts to silence campaigners ahead of the world’s first European Games in the capital next summer.

Back in Washington, DC, diplomats and rights groups closelyfollow the case, urging the Azeri government to allow Nuri depart the country immediately.

David Kramer, an executive director of Freedom House, a US based watchdog, which supports democratic change and advocates for democracy and human rights around the world, told TURAN’s Washington correspondent the following:

“Freedom House is deeply concerned by the Government of Azerbaijan’s refusal to allow Said Nuri, a US citizen, to leave the country… We urge the authorities in Baku to allow him to depart immediately and, in the interim, to ensure he is afforded whatever legal, medical or other assistance he needs, as well as full access to the U.S. Embassy, his family and other contacts,” Speaking to TURAN, Richard Kauzlarich, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Ambassador to Baku (1994-1997), drew the attention to the fact that the latest incident occurs on the same day that Azeri president is meeting with US Secretary of State at the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales…

“… The regime is continuing a series of detentions and arrests directed at suppressing the opposition voice in Azerbaijan. That this regime would prevent an American citizen — who was visiting his seriously ill father — from returning to the United States on the same day that the President of Azerbaijan is meeting US Secretary of State Kerry defies understanding or explanation. Said Nuri must be allowed to leave Azerbaijan to return to his home,”Kauzlarich, currently an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, told TURAN’s Washington DC correspondent.


Washington, DC


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