On February 18, 2017, just ten minutes after Netherlands-based Azerbaijani activist Orduhan Temirhan finished participating in a rally in Germany, he received a phone call from his sister. The head of the district police had called her, she told him, and threatened to “destroy” the family unless Temirhan stopped his activism in Europe and shut down his Facebook account.
Temirhan told her and her family to leave at once, but police had already surrounded the house. The next call he got, 30 minutes later, was from the police chief himself, who told him that 12 of his relatives had been taken in to the police station. “If you were a decent man, four of your sisters would not be here with me,” Temirhan said the officer told him. On the next call, the police chief put Temirhan’s sisters on the line, who cried and begged him to stop his work. He refused.
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Arzu Geybullayeva is a freelance writer.