On 27 November 2019, the ABA made a decision to suspend the licence of Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Shahla Humbatova and to seek her disbarment from the court on the basis of a complaint from a past client and the alleged failure to pay several months of Bar membership fees. Humbatova dismisses the accusations from her client and considers such ABA measures disproportionate and retaliatory for her human rights defence work.

Ms. Humbatova acted as a defence lawyer in the case known as the ‘Ganja case’ relating to an attempted assassination of Ganja’s mayor, which led to arrest and detention of dozens of individuals who alleged being ill-treated in detention. Earlier in 2019, the ABA threatened Humbatova with disciplinary proceedings after the Azerbaijani penitentiary service filed a complaint against her for spreading allegedly false information after she spoke publicly about the hunger strike and the poor health condition of her client, the then-political prisoner and blogger Mehman Huseynov in January 2019.