Leaving Azerbaijan in April 2009, Mr. Vusal felt that he would not probably see his home country again, at least not very soon. In Azerbaijan Mr. Vusal was a journalist with an interest in human rights. He wrote numerous articles about the severe violation of human rights in his country as he was trying to bring focus on unresolved criminal and economic cases. He was not afraid to ask unpleasant questions about the government´s behaviour and criticize it. Unfortunately, his activities were spotted by the governmental bodies and security agencies very soon and the regime has begun to complicate Mr. Vusal´s life.
At the beginning he had to deal only with insults and verbal abuses, but subsequently things went much worse. He was unjustifiably brought in for questioning by the security forces and the officers threatened him that he had to stop putting his nose in others business otherwise they would find a way how to send him into a jail and make his life a living misery. One day Mr. Vusal´s son was stopped at a street by strangers. They asked him to deliver a message to his father: “Be smart, stop bothering and you will come no harm, otherwise…” After all, it was clear to Mr. Vusal that Azerbaijan was too dangerous for him and finally he decided to leave the country.
Firstly, he had been trying to get a visa to Belgium but all his applications were rejected. Fortunately, the editorial staff of the Czech newspaper Lidove noviny learned about Mr. Vusal´s situation and sent him an invitation to a working visit to Prague. Having this invitation Mr. Vusal had no serious difficulties receiving the Czech visa and after a few weeks he arrived in the Czech Republic. Being here only a few days he found out that the Azerbaijani security agencies had been informed about his stay in Prague and his intention to seek asylum there. It was clear to Mr. Vusal that a return to Azerbaijan was no longer an option because of the risk of possible serious persecution from the hands of the regime. Thus, Mr. Vusal finally decided to apply for the international protection. After a few months the Czech Republic granted him the asylum and the status of refugee.
Currently, Mr. Vusal is living in the Czech Republic, he is still deeply interested in the situation in his country of origin and he continues with his journalistic activities.
Text by Sarka Ostadalova