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Center for National and International Studies
The most popular topics these days were charges of terrorism submitted to the bodyguard of PFP leader, repressions of activists, Karabagh, situation in Armenia and upcoming inauguration of the Karabagh “president” in Shusha, video recording and leaking of the internal meeting of the National Council, the reaction of the government to pandemic and the state aid issue, press-conference of the Baku Mayor Eldar Azizov, firing of the deputy minister of interior, social problems in the country, interview of the former minister of health Ali Insanov to Azad Soz.
The topic which dominates the space on FB is the situation in Karabagh and Armenia. Isa Gambar, the former leader of Musavat party and the director of the National Strategic “think tank” reacted to the speech of Pashinian discrediting M.E. Rasulzade , the founder of the Azerbaijan Republic in 1918. Gambar attracts attention to the unique chance of Pashinian in 2018 to influence the fate of the republic and improve relations both with Turkey and Azerbaijan, promoting true integration in Europe. He stresses that Armenia’s president did not use this chance by resorting to populism and semi-measures, ending by discrediting the historical leader who was advocating “freedom for people, and determination for nations”, as well as the author of the “Caucasus is our common house” M.E.Rasulzade, which proves, by his opinion, that he is an accidental figure in politics and the state governance. One of the activists of the youth movement Ulvi Hasanli says with irony, that he is “not surprised by this statement of Pashinian, as our own government is always discrediting Rasulzade”. But he also mentions, that “these corrupt people representing YAP would never appreciate Rasulzade, because he was not corrupt. So it is only average people of the country, who truly love and value him”. Seymur Hezi mentions, that “the country has never been in such difficult situation: the Armenian separatists prepare for inauguration in Shusha, Pashinian calls Rasulzade a fascist, Ilham Aliyev calls opposition the enemy and makes even the ptaritic people in the special services spy after opposition. This only causes their hatred towards the authorities”. The FB pages on the 21st May were dominated by the statements, status, comments and discussions of the “elections” in Karabagh and inauguration of the “ new president” in Shusha (traditionally Azerbaijani populated city in Karabagh) Ilkin Rustamzade comments, that while the country is going through the most humiliating period of its history due to the celebrations in the Azerbaijani city Shusha by the Armenian occupants, the government is applying all its force and resources on suppression of opposition and slandering and imprisoning the activists. Gozel Bayramli comments that the true Karabagh policy of Aliyev is revealed in the fact that he imprisoned three true heroes of the Karabagh war , while Armenian president is dancing in the occupied Shusha city. While many commentators suggested that the country’s leadership will hit the Karabagh militarily on the 21st, this did not happen. Ordukhan Babirov comments, that “the issue has been resolved! Putin does not allow to hit Shusha, and now send Mehriban Ali – Pashayev to get another order from the tzar Vladimir”. Arif Mammadov calls the inauguration in Shusha an open provocation. He also notes that there is a softening of the quarantine, but not the isolation of PFP leader Ali Karimli, as well as reports the signs of preparing the provocation by the Security Services against the former political prisoner Rufat Safarov. Gubad Ibadoglu announced the video debate devoted to the inauguration of the “ president” of Karabagh in Shusha, the response by the government to it and the issue of conflict on the site of the initiative platform BIZ. He also states on his timeline: “ The chief commander of the border troops, who can not control his deputy, will not be able to protect our borders, the Minister of Defence quietly watching celebrations of the enemy in Shusha will not be able to liberate the occupied lands, and the president and his ministers who do not declare their income will not be able to fight corruption.”
The topic of the charges of financing terrorism brought against the bodyguard of Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front Party Niyamaddin Ahmadov brought with the submission of investigator Orkhan Babayev, continue to be of high concern of the FB users. He was detained when he brought products to Ali Karimli flat and was sentenced to 30 days in prison, while after that was charged with the new crime, which stipulates from 10-14 years of imprisonment. Ali Karimli made a statement, describing him as a new and devoted member of the party. He writes, that 100 PFP members were arrested in 2019. Rabiyya Mammadova, Seymur Hezi, Nurlan Libre, Ilkin Rustamzade and many other activists and journalists posted alarming statements in defence of N. Ahmadov. Seymur Hezi considers that these charges in terrorism as a new stage in eliminating opposition. While before the government will prohibit rallies under the excuse of possibility of terrorist acts during the mass events, now they blame the opposition itself in terrorism. He also asserts that this is not the action directed against only the party member but against the whole civil opposition. Khadija Ismayil attracts attention to the other political prisoner Babek Hasanov, who has been on hunger strike in prison, protesting repressions by the prison personnel, which beats even the prisoners, who are sympathetic to his to isolate him from the others. The FB users also widely share the report by the US Department of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where they mention the case of Agil Maharramli, Tofig Yagublu, Orxan Bakhishi, Fuad Ahmadli. They mention, that Agil Maharramli in 2018 he was arrested and could not support his 6 months old twin daughters since then. The FB users also share concern regarding initial absence of information for 3 days of the detained PFP activist Seid Bakuvi, against whom the charges on 221.3 article were eventually brought on the 19th May. Nurlan Libre also shares news about arrest of the teacher from the village Dallili of Yardimli region Zabidov Jalil, who was slandered by the head of executive Ayaz Asgarov and his deputies and imprisoned for 5 months. The arrested was a blogger and cooperated with the site:” Say no to corruption!”. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev stresses the silence of society which contributes to the violation of human rights and problem of political prisoners. He urges to follow the principles, not personal motivation, and to protest illegal detentions and imprisonment not only PFP, but YAP also, if it takes place, as otherwise, the day will come when they knock their door too. Natig Jafarli of REAL also stated that in 21 century there should not be political prisoners – the issue should be once and forever, as there are many serious issues before the country which require unity. Khadija Ismayil reports about cyberattack on the site of Turan agency, and the fact that Ministry of Communications appealed to the court so they could block the sites of Turan TV, Meydan TV, Azadlyq radio, Azadlyq newspaper.
FB users continue to discuss the issue of cyberattack of the government and leaking to the internet of video recording of the internal meeting of the National Council. Gubad Ibadoglu, the leader of the ADR movement, gives the assessment of this event. He stresses that in order to discredit some public leaders and distract people from the issues of primary importance for the country- Karabagh, unemployment, poverty etc) the video recording of the National Council’s internal meetings were leaked in the internet. He makes a few points. One of them is that both national legislation and the international conventions prohibit spreading of the recordings of the public leaders’ statements without their permission. The other is that the border between the people’s right to access to information and the respect for private lives is based on the protection of the privacy. It is the government which bears responsibility for the protection of the privacy of the public leaders. So regardless who leaked the video of the National Council the government is responsible for this violation of privacy, and it should investigate and punish those who made it. He suggested for the NC to go to the court and then to the ECHR. Ilham Huseynli, member of the PFP board also have his assessment to this event. He appeals to the “creative” and “intellectual” members of the society who hurried to condemn the National Council members for their lack of political correctness. He asks them whether they did not understand the purpose of this leak and why did they so easily agreed to play the role in the government’s provocation? He states, that if the authorities succeed in eliminating PFP or NC nobody will pay any attention to them. If official power “ neutralize” the opposition, nobody will give them ( constructive opposition) grants or invite to the dialogue. He stresses that in fact these recordings revealed that none of the propaganda against the opposition was true- neither them being Armenian, nor foreign agents. The opposition has numerous proofs of the government’s multibillion corruption, tortures and violation of rights of its citizens, while the only thing the government has – the videos of the NC closed meetings with couple of sentences with no legal force. Gultakin Hajili, the member of the board of the National Council reveals the reasons of why the authorities recorded and leaked the board meeting mainly with her speeches and interventions. She writes: “ They took away my child, but did not break me, they arrested my house, but they did not break me, they took away my car, but they did not break me, they have been waging a blackening campaign against me for years, but they did not break me, they opened a criminal case against me and dragged me in courts for 2 years, but they failed to break me, they punished me with 85 thousand manat fine and did not break me, they have subjected me to years of moral terror, placing my photos and numbers on various escort sites, and then made a nice offer, which I rejected. And then they said, that they will turn my life into a hell.” She writes that they promised to arrange a big attack of public opinion against her, which they did indeed with the help of that video. But she asserted that they will not break her either, unless they hit her, as Ogtay Gulaliyev ( human rights defender) by car. But I promise, that you will be written in the history as the regime who failed to defeat a woman” Samir Kazimli writes, that he disapproves both the cyberattack and the hate speech of politicians. Meanwhile, Ramis Yunus considers that the propaganda attack against Jamil Hasanli started as by the common command and even a religious leader Ilgar Ibrahimoglu joined the criticism.
FB users continue to discuss the hiring of the bureaucrats, this time the minister of culture Abulfaz Garayev and deputy General prosecutor Rustam Usubov. Altay Geyushov comments on the sacking of the former. “ We spoke out about destruction of the historical buildings -the Minister used to reply that they are too old”. Arif Mammadov, the former diplomat in exile comments: “ There are videos of bribery, of family secrets and love affairs of everyone, so whenever the government wants they take it out and start the criminal case against any bureaucrat” Activists also discuss the interview of the ex-minister of health and former prisoner Ali Insanov to the Azad Soz. The political commentator Ramis Yunus stresses that Insanov was openly praising Heydar Aliyev and his rule, where he himself was playing an active role. At the same time he criticizes Ilham Aliyev who simply continues to rule the same system. Ramis Yunus appeals to Insanov blaming him and Heydar Aliyev for creation of the current political system in Azerbaijan and stresses that before Insanov repents there will not be democracy or any progress in the country. The FB users also ridicule incomprehensible speech of the Mayor of Baku city Eldar Azizov due to his poor Azerbaijani language. Ordukhan Babirov explains why he is so strict to the regime-because both the father and the son have been putting the best people in prisons, giving them tortures and try to eliminate them, while surrounding themselves and empowering the worst, corrupt criminals – this is an anti-Azerbaijani position and the crimes against the statehood. Natig Jafarli of REAL raises the issue of the Civil Society. He comments that by repressing the political parties, the government promoted politicization of the civil society.
Jamil Hasanli writes about the nature of “reforms” by the political leadership of the country. He describes continuity in the policies of the old and newly appointed General prosecutor – Zakir Garalov and Kamran Aliyev. “The same way as Zakir Garalov made the PFP leader Karimli’s assistant Faig Amirli the agent of Fatulla Gulen, while his driver Pasha Umudov – a “narcobaron”, the new minister Kamran Aliyev is making the bodyguard of Ali Karimli Niyamaddin Ahmadov a “supporter of terrorism”. Similar to the times of Eldar Mahmudov when the Ministry of National Security was turned into a “torture laboratory”, Ali Nagiyev brought the State Security Services back to the previous condition. What has changed? I will tell you how the driver and the bodyguard were turned into a narcobaron and the one financing terrorism. Ali Karimli for a few years already does not have a car. So I will take him to the party meetings in my car with Pasha and Niyameddin On the way back late in the evening we will drop off Ali Karimli, and then – myself, and the guys had to go back on their own. But however it is difficult for me to confess, I should say that very often none of them would have enough money for the transport to return back home. Niyameddin, as very humble and well brought up person, never showed it. And I secretly will put 5-10 manats in their pockets. Sometimes he will take change which I left on the car door pocket for parking so he would have money to use metro or a bus. And then I saw him on the TV speaking about his trading heroine. When I was achild we used to draw mustaches and horns on the photos of Khrushov in the Kommunist newspaper, because the Soviets had a reputation that “they can get a baby out of the male donkey” Now this Soviet skill is paling compared to this ability of Ilham Aliyev.
Yesterday I heard terrible news, that the State Security Services are giving unimaginable tortures to Niyameddin— his kidneys are bleeding, his sex organ was electroshocked ( They have done this also in Bandodtel to the Naradaran events prisoners). This is an insult to Humanity. This was committed only by Nazis or Lubianka’s personnel. Most probably, the tortures will continue until Niyameddin does not “ confess” that he was financing terrorism. I know him as a very cultured and decent guy. Although he was poor, he never showed it, lived in the modest rented room. Very principled, pure, dignified guy. The guys of Ali Naghiyev who made his kidney bleeding were saving and launder money in Europe, while he fought defending the country’s borders. All this is because of Ali Karimli. Tofig Yagublu, Niyameddin, Pasha, and others are tools of bargaining of Ilham Aliyev with the West. Aftre certain degree of all these tortures, arrests etc. the lobbyists of Aliyev in the West will push forward the ideas that this is time to talk with Aliyev. They make politics on these tortured bodies, bleeding kidneys and electroshocked sex organs. Last time Ilham Aliyev at the expanse of Khadija Ismayil persecution managed to get a handshake of vice-president Biden, and now apparently anticipates his handshake in the capacity of the president… And while there are politicians in the West ready to give him a handshake, there will be a lot a bloody victims of this regime..”