Bakhtiyar Hajiyev ends hunger strike after release of intimate images

1 March 2023
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Photo: Bakhtiyar Hajiyev/Facebook.

Imprisoned activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev stopped his hunger strike the day after intimate photographs, videos, and messages were leaked from his private accounts.

Hajiyev had been on hunger strike against his detention for 50 days, since 9 January. 

His lawyer, Agil Lajic, said Hajiyev had ended his hunger strike after taking into account public opinion. He said Hajiyev would soon receive food at the detention centre he is being held in.

‘[Hajiyev] thanked everyone who supported him. The legal fight will continue until justice is achieved’, Lajic said.

The leaking of Hajiyev’s personal correspondences has led to condemnation of the government from opposition and civil society figures, who have insisted they were behind the incident. 

It has also led to backlash towards Hajiyev for saving intimate images of women, despite similar leaks targeting women opposition activists and journalists.

On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry Interior Ministry spokesperson Elshad Hajiyev denied that the ministry had viewed Bakhtiyar Hajiyev’s personal information.


Elshad Hajiyev told Meydan TV that the authorities had not accessed any of the activist’s devices while he was in detention, stating that he did not have any on him when he was detained. 

‘We have received complaints from several women and their family members about where and how the information spread about individual social activists from Hajiyev's personal accounts came from, as well as Hajiyev’s archiving of their information. Investigations are being conducted into those applications,’ said the spokesperson.

Activists angered by the leak have accused the government of endangering the lives of the women seen in the materials. 

Feminist activist Gulnara Mehdiyeva wrote that the government had failed in its duty to protect its citizens, instead ‘deliberately and knowingly [attempting] to make those women victims of suicide or murder’ by releasing their names, images, and, in one case, the home address, of the women 

‘They think that if the life of any of these women ends tragically, her blood will be on Bakhtiyar’s hands, and the government will thus have destroyed its rival’. 

‘Bakhtiyar is now finished as a political activist and figure, stop posting information and images of women who have anything to do with him! Don't hurt anyone!’ Mehdiyeva concluded.

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