Human Rights Defenders at risk
In the regions where Civil Rights Defenders work, support to the most vulnerable human rights defenders is of utmost importance. The task is extremely challenging and has to be implemented with both courage and strength. 2013 has been no exception, and numerous times throughout the year we have received ongoing validation as to why our work is so important. In Transnistria, the unrecognized separatist republic of Moldova, Stepan Popovsky and Vladimir Maimust were subjected to intense judicial harassment and intimidation by the local authorities. In March 2013 the Azerbaijani independent journalist and editor in chief of Khural, Avaz Zeynalli was unlawfully sentenced to nine years in prison for bribery, extortion and tax evasion, in a fabricated trial. It was a big step backwards for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. The well-respected human rights defender Nazlie Bala has been subjected to death threats in Kosovo. In Russia, the organisation "For Human Rights" was forcefully evicted after a brutal and violent campaign launched against the organisation's chairman Lev Ponomaryov and many of its employees.