Azerbaijan is a country where animals and humans have no rights. No right for strays to live; no right for animals to be respected and loved; no right for humans to express dissent; no right for people to propose ethical alternatives to the mass culling of stray dogs; no right for activists to protest against the violation of animal rights; no right for animal lovers to ask clarifications about Toplan Center’s activities; no right for children to live in a peaceful country without constantly being exposed to animal abuse and violence…

This is Azerbaijan…A country where police does not allow the protest of animal lovers, a country where activists are arrested and they risk fines or imprisonment if convicted, a country where new generations can’t learn that the world is not only made of hate and violence towards other living beings.


In 2021, two employees of the “Toplan” Stray Dog Care Center applied to the court of Khatai District to open a criminal case against four animal-loving activists. The lawsuit states that after the animal lovers shared a photo of both employees declaring that they worked at “Toplan”, their number of “customers” decreased sharply. The plaintiffs claimed that their public reputation has been damaged.

On September 27, Khatai District Court sentenced animal rights defenders. Aynur Babazadeh, Nijat Ismayilov, Elkhan Mirzayev and Ilhama Nasirova, who were accused of insult and defamation, were demanded compensation in the amount of 100,000 manats. Defense lawyer Zibeyda Sadygova: “We all asked for acquittal, because no one felt guilty and no one wanted to point the finger at any specific accusers. Their main goal was to protest against the actions towards trapped dogs by the so called “Toplan” Care CenterUnfortunately, the court issued an indictment verdict and fined all 4 defendants.

Animal lovers have protested several times in front of “Toplan” Care Center for Stray Dogs. Protesters claim that dogs collected from the street disappear once inside the center. They simply demand for the center to operate transparently in front of the public, open its doors to volunteers, and inform them about what they do to the dogs.

One of the activists, Aynur Babazade, considers the court verdict unfair. She says that the court fined her for an act she did not commit. The court fined Ilhama Nasirova 1000 manat, Elkhan Mirzayev 1000 manat, Aynur Babazade 1500 manat, and Nijat Ismayilov 2000 manat. Aynur Babazade also must pay 1000, Nijat Ismayilov 1000, Ilhama Nasirova 700, Elkhan Mirzayev 500 compensation for moral damage. The plaintiffs did not attend the trial.

(News from American Voice Azerbaijan)

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