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Center for National and International Studies
“I want to drown because I breathe in a country where people try to vindicate the rapist instead of standing with the girl who was raped at the age of 16. ”
FB community reacts to president Aliyev’s interview with Italian La Repubblica. In an interview to the Italian newspaper, Ilham Aliyev said in response to the question about the “Pandora Papers” that he had been president for eighteen years, and before that, he was a successful businessman. Responding to the accusations, Aliyev said that after becoming president, he stopped actively doing business, and his family members took over. However, the controversial interview raised questions.
Reflecting on the interview, the head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, professor Jamil Hasanli pointed out major issues that he found in the interview. Hasanli wrote: First of all, Aliyev says, “after I became president, I stopped being directly involved in the business and passed the business on to my family.” He doesn’t seem to know that he couldn’t do business for ten years, even before he became president. Because in 1994-2003, he worked first as a vice-president and then as the first vice-president of the State Oil Company. The law prohibits high-ranking government officials from doing business. In addition, Ilham Aliyev was “elected” to the Milli Majlis in 1995. Again, the law prohibits MPs from doing business. Therefore, he was engaged in illegal business activities. Secondly, Ilham Aliyev is trying to link the disclosure of 700 million $ worth property that belongs to his family with Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War. Before the Second Karabakh War, between 2009 and 2019, similar accusations against Aliyev and his family for illegally owning properties from Dubai to London, secret offshore accounts from Panama to the Virgin Islands were exposed.
Gubad Ibadoglu, head of ADR (Azerbaijan Democratic Welfare Movement), reacted to the interview by asking, “if Ilham Aliyev was so rich before he became president, why didn’t he help the people in the refugee camps when they were for years in need of Iranian humanitarian aid, why did not he build houses for refugees and IDPs, and perhaps finance the education of a talented Azerbaijani youth abroad? What did those who became rich and oligarchs under Ilham Aliyev‘s government do?”
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev shed light on the corruption at courts when reacting to the sexual assault that happened to Sanay Yaghmur. Writer Zumrud Yaghmur’s daughter Sanay shared on her FB post that she was raped by her cousin Asgar Aghayev a year ago, however, despite all her efforts, police officers failed to bring Aghayev to justice. Hajiyev wrote: If the crime against a well-known writer’s daughter is not investigated by law enforcement agencies for a year, if the most famous lawyers fail to eliminate the most obvious injustice if public activists have difficulty in securing their simplest rights, the law enforcement agencies commit crime and are engaged in a campaign of slander, defamation instead of doing their job, shame on that country. It is not difficult to imagine what ordinary citizens are suffering to restore their rights and justice at the hands of these institutions. Injustice leads to new crimes when law enforcement agencies and courts delay bringing justice. We saw it in the books we read, in the movies we watched, yet we didn’t grasp it completely. Thanks to the Azerbaijani government for showing us real-life examples. As long as justice is not restored by law enforcement agencies and courts, the number of crimes in society will increase. Those who fail to do their job, who prevent or delay the restoration of justice in return for bribes or due irresponsibility, should know that they and their families might and will become victims of this system one day. Then it will be too late to search for a fair system.
Ali Karimli informed his followers on FB that Niyamaddin Ahmadov stopped the hunger strike at the insistence of party leaders and family members. Ahmadov had been on hunger strike for 21 days. Karimli also called on the FB community to continue the protection of Niyamaddin Ahmadov and all political prisoners with even greater energy than ever.
Writer Zumrud Yaghmur held a press conference on sexual abuse that her daughter Sanay was subjected to a year ago. Last year, her underage (16) daughter Sanay was raped by her cousin Asgar Aghayev. Although the expert opinion stated that considering the evidence on Sanay‘s clothes, Asgar Aghayev proved to be the rapist, he was not arrested.
Activist Rabiyya Mammadova reacted to the case of Sanay Yaghmur with her heartfelt post on FB: I want to drown because I breathe in a country where people try to vindicate the rapist instead of standing with the girl who was raped at the age of 16. Sanay is strong, but why should women in this country be extra strong? Why should they spend their energy on being extra strong instead of focusing on their education, their careers, or just simply enjoying life? Why don’t the laws protect women? Why do law enforcement agencies try to emphasize women’s lifestyle and drinking-smoking habits instead of performing their duties? Because they know, they know the society well, they know that in this society, there will be people who support them, and their voices will be louder. I can’t come to my senses after learning about what had happened. It’s hard to witness despair at such a scale yet feeling a need to hide tears.
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev shared on his FB platform that Sanay Yaghmur’s FB profile was hacked, and a fake correspondence on his behalf was shared. Sanay later shared on her FB that the conversation was fake, however, she was blackmailed into deleting her post about the correspondence being fake, or private details about her would be made public. Hajiyev adds that “considering that this issue has been publicized for two days, it is safe to say that Aliyev‘s law enforcement agencies were behind this smear and blackmail campaign based on the fact that the law enforcement agencies had information about the crime that happened to Sanay at that time.”
Nigar Hezi joined the ongoing debates around rape and negligence by law enforcement officials. In her FB post, Hezi writes: What happened to Sanay Yagmur is terrible. The prosecutor’s office does not consider her complaint because the legal system in this country does not work…Societies without justice and law are doomed to destruction. There are many cases of murders, rapes, and tortures against women in this country. There are so many girls that can’t make their voices heard, can’t demand their rights, and can’t demand justice. However, a police officer can shot and kill his wife at the police station. Now. Who can say that the murders of women are not political…If the state does not take any further steps after this issue becomes public, it means that the state is a partner in this crime.
Azadliq newspaper informs that Musavat Party activist Rovshan Huseynov was detained by a group of people in civilian clothes and taken to the police station. Later in the evening, Rovshan Huseynov was sentenced to 25 days of administrative detention on charges of disobeying police orders. Two days ago, Rovshan Huseynov protested against the illegal interference of the police in the event of Musavat Party members visiting the monument to Rasulzade in Novkhani village.
The protest, watched by more than 100,000 followers on social media without causing any disobedience. The arrest of the Musavat activist is a continuation of the ongoing policy of repression against the opposition in Azerbaijan, an attempt to stifle protests in the cradle.
Azadliq Newspaper reports that activists Rustam Ismayilbeyli, Samir Akhundzade, Elmir Abbasov, Ali Mahmudlu, Ahmad Mammadli, and Farid Imanov were violently detained in front of the YAP headquarters while trying to protest against the recent political arrests. Azadliq Newspaper also shared writer Karamat Boyukchol’s family’s concerns. Boyukchol’s father Gasham Najafzadeh, said that they are worried about Karamat Boyukchol‘s current situation. According to Najafzadeh, Karamat is isolated from everything, no one is allowed to see him, and he is not allowed to use a phone. Noting that his son went to the clinic voluntarily to receive treatment, Najafzadeh asked the authorities of the clinic to let him see his son. Karamat Boyukchol, who recently went online to live broadcast on social media to voice criticism against Ilham Aliyev, was placed in the State Narcological Dispensary in Mashtaga in October. He was reportedly taken to the Narcology Dispensary by law enforcement officers.
Gubad Ibadoglu informed his followers on FB that he finally managed to regain access to his FB profile after a lengthy procedure. Ibadoghlu questioned the role of the government in this by asking, “is the only problem in the country my Facebook account, which I use to convey what is true and honest?” Ibadoghlu concluded that “due to the corruption, unstable management, and monopoly in this government, millions of people in Azerbaijan are unemployed, poor, illiterate, sick, suffering from poverty, getting into debt every day to cover the growing costs.”
Post-conflict situation. Azadliq newspaper reports that the Azerbaijani government has prepared a state program on the integration of Armenians in Karabakh into Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev will sign a decree in this regard in the near future. According to the decree, both peoples will live together peacefully in the region. Activist Ilkin Rustamzadeh took this chance to ask the people who were openly against the idea of Armenians and Azerbaijanis living together. Rustamzade wrote that “now that that the peaceful coexistence of the two peoples in the region is prioritized on state level, let see, what the fake patriots, who once called us traitors, have to say against the president’s order?”
Social issues. Blogger Mehman Huseynov reacted to the current state of injustice and malfunctioning of the ministries. Huseynov wrote: How many innocent people are currently in Azerbaijani prisons? They were imprisoned for speaking the truth, for being on the side of the truth, for not bowing down to oppression, and for opposing the arbitrariness and bribery of officials. One of them is Niyamaddin Ahmadov, a member of the Popular Front Party. The young activist was sentenced to 13 years in prison for defending the truth without committing any crime and protesting against the arbitrariness of an official in the country. However, the high-ranking officials steal millions of manats from the state budget, buy expensive villas and cars, commit crimes in front of the public, and these officials go unpunished. They move freely and make millions through fake companies. For instance, the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is a nest of corruption from head to toe! From the minister to the departmental chair, they were all liars! How come I knew about these crimes, but the Prosecutor General’s Office did not know?
Relations with Iran. Meydan TV reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov had a telephone conversation with Hussein Amir Abdullahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The ministers stressed the recent harmful rhetoric that does not correspond to the level of friendly relations between the two countries and the need to resolve all differences through dialogue. The ministers stressed the importance of always respecting the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries. Meanwhile, Ali Karimli shared on his FB platform that twelve Azerbaijani activists who organized a rally in support of Karabakh in Ardabil during the Karabakh war last year were severely punished by the Iranian court. The court sentenced them to a total of 15 years in prison and 888 lashes. Karimli added that “it is unfortunate that our Karabakh-loving compatriots are punished in the neighboring country.” According to Karimli, such repressions are both a gross violation of human rights and an act that undermines normal neighborly relations with Azerbaijan.