MADRID—The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has called on Spain’s Atletico Madrid soccer team to stop its cooperation with the authoritarian regime of Azerbaijan, Azeri newspaper Azadliq reports.
According to the article, vice-president of the organization Adam Bodnar and project coordinator Dominica Bychawska-Siniarska have described the appalling state of human rights in Azerbaijan and have called for the revision of Atletico Madrid’s sponsorship agreement with Azerbaijan.
In their open letter to the soccer club’s management, they also remind readers about Azerbaijan’s recent arrest and imprisonment of several important human rights activists, journalists and politicians for their criticisms of the government.
“After all this we do not understand why such an outstanding European football team as Atletico Madrid would agree to promote on its shirts one of the most repressive countries in the world,” says the letter.
The organization expresses hope that the football team will not stay indifferent to their call.
“The Atletico Madrid players wear the logo ‘Land of Fire Azerbaijan’ on their shirts; however the situation in this country is such that the slogan should read, ‘the land of fire which burns democratic values and human rights principles.’ It is our deep regret that the Azerbaijani government’s oil has so much power to quash democratic values and human rights,” says the letter. The full text of the letter is available online.