Azerbaijan Blocks Critical Amnesty Visit Before European Games

Azerbaijan has blocked a visit by Amnesty International at which it planned to highlight human rights abuses in the south Caucasian republic as it prepares to host the inaugural European Games, Amnesty said on Wednesday. Although rights groups accuse the government of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents to prevent the rise of any political opposition, charges it denies, Azerbaijan is courted by the West as an alternative to Russia in supplying oil and gas to Europe.