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Georgia: Reluctant Host for Azerbaijani Dissidents?

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev meets with Vakhtang Gomelauri, head of Georgia’s National Security Service, in Baku in August 2016. In recent months, a number of high-profile Azerbaijani opposition activists have been denied residency permits in Georgia on “national security” grounds, prompting accusations that Tbilisi is collaborating with Baku to make life more difficult for the Azerbaijani opposition. (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service)

For years, Georgia has been a safe harbor for dissidents seeking to escape persecution from authorities in neighboring Azerbaijan. But in recent months, a number of high-profile Azerbaijani opposition activists have been denied residency permits in Georgia, prompting accusations that Tbilisi is collaborating with Baku to make life more difficult for the Azerbaijani opposition.
 
On April 19, an opposition rapper and journalist, Jamal Ali, flew from his home in Berlin to Tbilisi, but was denied entry by Georgian border guards at the airport. “They said they entered my name into the system to check it, and it displayed a message that read ‘we cannot let you into the country,’” Ali said.
 

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Georgia: Reluctant Host for Azerbaijani Dissidents?

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