Now the European Games are over, Azerbaijan's controversial trials are back on. A European politician told VICE News that the country "can get away with it because of business interests that are involved."
Azerbaijan spent billions to host the European Games, but residents of the area that provides much of the country’s wealth live anything but a life of luxury. VICE News visited the Balakhani oilfields.
The inaugural European Games are underway in Azerbaijan, a country recognised for its human rights abuses and widespread corruption.
A spectacle that included Lady Gaga and a giant floating pomegranate wasn’t enough to overshadow the controversy over Azerbaijan’s disturbing human rights record.
VICE News spoke to the daughter of jailed Azerbaijani activist Leyla Yunus, and international human rights groups denied entry to the country this week, right before the European Games kick off.
With 100 days left until the games begin, Amnesty International released a report detailing "a pattern of intensified harassment and intimidation of activists” by Azerbaijan’s government.