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Center for National and International Studies
Political Prisoner Saleh Rustamli has been on hunger strike for more than 18 days as a protest against his illegal imprisonment. As Rustamli’s health deteriorates more, a group of journalists signed a joint statement demanding Rustamli‘s immediate release. Lawyers also shared a joint statement calling the allegations against Saleh Rustamli to have no legal basis and urging the authorities to release Rustamli.
Azadlig Newspaper reports that Mehman Bahmanoglu Suleymanov, a member of the Sabail District Branch of the Popular Front Party, was summoned to the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office for his posts on Facebook. “Dear friends, an hour ago, I received a call from an unknown number. I was invited to the office of the Republican Prosecutor’s Office near the Darnagul metro station,” said Suleymanov. When Suleymanov asked the reason for the call, he was told that “he shares whatever comes to his mind on Facebook”, and if he doesn’t come to the police department by 17:00, he will be taken by the police.
The newly released former political prisoner journalist Elchin Hasanzadeh is targeted again. Hasanzadeh, who was arrested on the complaint of the Mingachevir city executive authorities, has just been released from 8-month imprisonment. After his release, Hasanzadeh has been active on social media sharing his criticism about the incompetent actions of local authorities. Hasanzadeh was threatened by imprisonment if he didn’t stop his activism on social media.
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet first in Sochi, then in Brussel, to discuss the existing disputes between the two countries. Gubad Ibadoghlu assessed the upcoming meetings. Ibadoghlu wrote: When the Brussels meeting was announced, I shared my concern that Russia would use any means to reduce the level and impact of the meeting. Not long after that, the trilateral meeting was announced on November 26 in Sochi. If Putin does not allow the return of Karabakh to its legal owner, do you think he will agree to Western intervention? Of course not. Let’s wait and see what documents Azerbaijan and Armenia will sign on November 26 and what commitments they will make. Again, the information will be made public only after the meeting. I think that the people should be informed about any commitment that the government will make before the meeting.”
Head of APFP Ali Karimli criticized the government for “deceiving the people.” Karimli wrote: “The government and its henchmen deceived the people. They exploited our national feelings with the slogans of Zangazur, Goycha, and Yerevan. As a result, Russian troops are stationed in Zangazur. Russia’s deployment of troops on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border could be a long-term disaster for our country. We must not allow this.”
Azadlig newspaper reports that Mehman Huseynov, a war veteran, faces discrimination based on his political views. Huseynov is one of the participants of the First Karabakh War, during which he lost both his legs. During the Second Karabakh War 0f 2020, as a result of missiles, his house was destroyed, and his car was damaged. However, the commission set up to compensate for the damage caused by the war discriminated against Mehman Huseynov. It should be noted that a few years ago, Mehman Huseynov was arrested for harsh criticism of the President.
Azadlig newspaper reports that Ilham Aliyev was not invited to the Biden’s Summit of Democracy. Altogether 110 countries are invited to the summit, and Azerbaijan is the only country in the Caucasus region that is not invited. The list, published on the State Department‘s website on November 23, does not include China or Russia, while Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine have been invited to the event. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, and the countries in Central Asia are also excluded from the virtual summit. The Democracy Summit will be held virtually on December 9-10, bringing together government, civil society, and private sector leaders. According to the State Department, “the summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.”
Reacting to the list of countries invited to the summit, professor Altay Goyushov said that “gradually joining the list will also bring privileges. Those who are trying to get into this list will make progress, and those who stay outside will be left behind socially-politically, economically, technologically, and culturally.”
Head of ADW party Gubad Ibadoghlu drew attention to the demographic change in Azerbaijan, arguing that the country is “on the verge of a demographic risk.” Ibadoghlu wrote: I present to you the table of the main demographic indicators of the last 12 years, divided into two consecutive periods, each consisting of 6 years. Compared to the first period (2009-2014), the number of births and marriages in the second period (2015-2020) decreased, while the number of divorces and deaths increased rapidly. In fact, this dynamic casts doubt on a number of indicators, including life expectancy. It seems that in order to increase the retirement age, the average life expectancy is falsified and falsely increased. Taking into account the 3,000 young people killed in the war, this trend of the rapid increase in death will intensify in the coming years. If it will be the case, can you imagine how the future of Azerbaijan will look like in 5-10 years?”