The musician’s relatives were arrested because he released a music video criticising the country’s authorities.

Jamal Ali’s mother, uncle and two cousins were arrested after he released a music video for his song that criticised the government. They spent four days in custody. The song “Heykal Baba” (Grandfather Monument) is dedicated to two young activists who were sentenced to 10 years in prison for drawing graffiti on the monument to Azerbaijan's former president Heydar Aliyev, the father of the country’s current president Ilham Aliyev.

The video quickly reached 100,000 views on YouTube. As a result, Jamal Ali’s close relatives were arrested to put pressure on him. The musician says he received threats that about 40 of his relatives might lose their jobs, be thrown into jail or banned from leaving the country if he didn’t delete the video from his YouTube channel. The musician, who has been living in exile in Berlin since 2012, had to obey. He left the country after he had been arrested at a protest rally ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. Ali was tortured and beaten in detention.

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