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Center for National and International Studies

 

FB Digest@VoxPOPULI

03.08.2020

The topic of torture of activists and unclear fate of Fuad Gahramanli  of PFP, along with the reaction to the repressions of the foreign institutions, and of the government, extra-ordinary meeting of the Milli Majlis ( the Parliament), the statements — of the SD faction of the European Parliament, co-rapporteurs of the PACE, of the human rights defenders and civil society of the country- condemning repressions against opposition, declaring the income by the MP Erkin Gadirli, extension of quarantine – dominated the FB discussions

The activists share and update information about Fuad Gahramanli who was tortured when detained, could not talk and was unconscious as a result. They tried to get his fake witness written testimony against Ali Karimli. Fuad Gahramanli was detained on the 23d July, and was charged by Nasimi district court with articles 186.2.1, 233, 315, 278 with the imprisonment for 4 months. Since then there was no information about him, neither any meeting or telephone conversation for his family members or with the lawyer was allowed. Yadigar Sadyghli reminds of his insistence on pushing forward the issue of tortures, as all the other issues- such as election falsification, human rights violations are “neutralized” by the government’s lobby abroad and justification by geography, Islamist threat,  Russia etc. but  cannot justify the fact of tortures by any of those. On the 1st of August Bakhtiyar Hajiyev reported the answer to his inquiry to the Ombudsman’s office regarding the fate of Fuad Gahramanli, which confirmethat he is alive and is Kurdakhani detention center. (Fuad Gahramanli on the 2nd of August was allowed to call his brother in the presence of the ombudswoman and talked for 20 seconds, while the lawyer of the other prisoner Seymur Ahmadov has recorded the fact of tortures.) He also urges all citizens to be active and use the power of control over the state institutions. Mehman Aliyev, the director of Turan agency, gave an interview to the pressclub.az, where he explains the recent statement by Ali Karimli of willing to surrender to authorities in exchange for release of the members of his party by his sense of responsibility and solidarity, as the arrested are given tortures. He stresses that the events at the Parliament building on the 15th was well planned provocation, which is proved by the doors opened in advance and that the authorities took an advantage of the events in Tovuz  to conduct the repressions by arranging the provocation at the parliament building. He noted that picking PFP as a target is not an accident, as now this is the most organized force to be able to lead the protest constituency caused by the increasingly deepening social economic crisis. They are however receptive to the reaction of the West, otherwise they would be even more repressive. There is a greater activity from the side of intelligentsia, signing the statements in defense of the persecuted, or criticizing the  policy.One of them, Araz Gunduz  argues, that the president Aliyev is taking the country and people to the times 600 years ago and quotes the poet and “PFP member” Nasimi of that time. The female artist Peri Miniature painted the portrait of the founder of the first democratic republic of Azerbaijan Mammad Emin Rasulzade and posed with it in the oil field.

They also continue to discuss the absurd charges of preparation of the coup incurred to the PFP presidium member Mammad İbrahim, in spite of him never leaving his home during the rally. They also actively comment on the statement of Ali Karimli where he suggested the government to arrest himself in exchange for release of all others detained or not to run as a leader of the party in the next congress. Jamil Hasanli argues, that while the  people who flatter officials remain the power base of this regime, the good news is that  in spite of all possible pressure  the authorities exerted on Popular Front Party and National Council – so many people, including intelligentsia, human rights defenders, lawyers etc,  found courage and expressed their support for the opposition. He asserts, that the purpose of Ilham Aliyev is not just eliminating the opposition, but to replace it with the “new one” , because he wants to show him as a “democrat”, not just a tyrant and kleptocrat. “This way is going through the elimination of the true opposition in the torture laboratories. That’s why he went to the last battle not in Karabagh, but with his people”, concludes Hasanli. The Fb reports the arrest of three more PFP activistsBabek Muradov, Elnur Guliyev and Mushfig Guliyev and opening the criminal cases against them,  (186.2.1, 233 and 315 articles of the Criminal Code) with two of them getting sentence of 3 months of imprisonment.  The FB community spreads the information about aggravating health of the son of the opposition activist Mammad Ibrahim Mehdi, who was transferred to the tuberculosis zone of the prison. They also share the preparations for the court hearing on the 14 of August of the Sumgayit based human rights defender Elchin Mammad, where the “fake” material evidence was presented. He was arrested in March this year under the indictment of stealing and illegal keeping the weapons. Javid Gara comments, that there were times that the authorities were cautious when arresting the activists. Now there are mass arrests and we are happy to find out that they are still alive in prison. He calls this “ happy” feeling disgusting.

The activists widely share the coverage  and reaction to the repressions of the opposition by the foreign media and institutions, such as the opinion of Washington Post “ Azerbaijan’s president aims to finish off the political opposition” , and the statement of the SD faction of the European Parliament by      calling for the sanctions against the president Aliyev, the statement by the co-rapporteurs of the PACE, as well as continuing domestic reaction, such as  the statement of the human rights defenders and the civil society. The latter states, that the situation with human rights in Azerbaijan during pandemic has significantly aggravated. It informs, that majority were arrested by articles 186.2.1, ( deliberate destruction of the property, and inflicting mass damage) 233( organization of the actions on violation of the public order and participation in them)., 315 ( the resistance to the representative of government and application of violence) . The two members of the leadership structure of the PFP Fuad Gahramanli and Mammad Ibrahim got an additional article 278 ( the taking over power by force), while some others got also 139.1.1 article indictment ( the violation of the regime and quarantine against the pandemic)  and even the article on “deliberate spread of the virus among population” indicted to the son of Mammad Ibrahim Mehdi Ibrahimov. Jamil Hasanli writes, that they gave him this sentence before they made a test, and after they did- he appeared not to be infected. In contrary, he was put in tuberculosis zone in prison, where there is a direct threat to his heath. Of 39 people who was criminally charged- 19 are members of the PFP, while of 32 with administrative charges – 15 are members of PFP. The signatories of the statement appeal to the international organizations, progressive governments to demand president Aliyev to immediately release  the arrested. Nigar Hezi, the daughter of political prisoner Tofig Yagublu posts the photos of the family members, children of political prisoners and argues that sharing this post is not enough- one should move to the real actions. But people are afraid to fight this regime, however, it is not possible to change anything with a sense of fear. She appeals to people to demand their release and support their families. The activists and journalists share the quotation from the interview of Khadija Ismayil to the voice of America “ While the whole world is fighting coronavirusIlham Aliyev is fighting his people” The FB community widely shares the statement by the “largest faction of the European Parliament” S&D signed by the group’s vice-president Katie Pirie urging the EU High Commissionaire on Foreign Police and Security Josef Borelli to raise the initiative of application of sanctions  on Azerbaijan government. They also quote Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich who calls the US government to include the government in the Global Magnitsky Act.The family members of 16 “ political prisoners in connection with Karabagh events” appealed to the president asking to present evidence of the fault of their  family members suggesting if they do not have those proofs  to arrest them, or release innocent family members. They say how proud they are of these political prisoners and ask authorities to stop slander, fake accusations, tortures and not to put their names in the black list of the history by committing these human rights violations. The FB community also shares the statement in defense of PFP by the well-known economist Rovshan Agayev. Jamil Hasanli also posts the full text of the answer to his letter to the private office of the General Secretary of the Council of Europe where they re-assure prof. Hasanli that they follow the events in Azerbaijan closely especially in the area of specific commitments and statutory obligations as a CoE member-state.

The FB community also shares the report by Seymur Ahmadzade of the tortures, which was recorded by the new Human Rights organizationThe Line of Defense” . He informs, that from the first moments of his arrest he was under non-stop tortures and felt as the prisoner of war, not as the detained. He simply came out to show his solidarity with the state and the army.The worst tortures were in the detention center of the Narimanov District Police Department, where a police in civilian clothes was beating him with the club for an hour and demanded him to apologize threatening of worse tortures in case of refusal. The Line of Defense organization appeals to the International Red Cross Committee, the UN Human Rights Commissionaire to immediately visit Seymur Ahmadzade and other political (Karabagh) prisoners. Habib Muntazir notes the historical irony with arrests of the activists. The name of the judge who was giving the sentence to the participants of the Karabagh rally is Huseyn Javid, there are two poets among the arrested and they all were given tortures ( Huseyn Javid was a famous poet of Azerbaijan who was killed by the Stalin’s regime-L.A).

The FB community discusses consequences of the resumption of hostilities at the state border.They quote the Turkish military analyst Abdulla Agar , who argued that Polad Hashimov was killed by the drone inside the country at the distance of 31st km from the border. He considered that elimination of the general who got education in Turkey is not an accident. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR spread the petition on awarding him the title of National hero, giving the name of Hashimov to the street  in Baku, the names of all 4 of them to the schools where they went to and other range of commemoration measures.  They also discuss the reaction of the president to the killing of the general Polad Hashimov, including him not coming to honor his body at his hometown  or his funerals, or the decision to name after him the street in Gabala.

The agenda of the appointed extra-ordinary meeting of the parliament is the subject of comments and analysis. The activists consider it to address the issues related to the interests of the ruling elite. Among them are: 1) an increase of the financing of the Presidential Reserve Fund — from 300 million to 480 mln manat ( the fund’s 1 year budget was spent in 6 months ) and the State Budget Reserve Fund two times- from 110 mln manat to 210 mln manat. 2) the amendments to the Law on Employment. Apparently as a result of failure to give a state aid of 1-2 mln unemployed, they might want to introduce new exceptions, when the person does not qualify as unemployed.3) the amendments to the Law on Unemployment insurance  4) On the 2020 budget of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.  5) Amendments to the 2020 state budget – about allocation of the extra 136,6 mln manat to the state enterprises, while only 100 mln manat to all the enterprises who suffered the consequences of pandemic. Ulvi Hasanli comments, that the so called “state “is the group of people, who exploits the state, the budget, the resources and the people for the sake of its private interests.

The FB community continues to share and comment on the government’s economic-social policies, corruption and nepotismMP Erkin Gadirli of REAL party has published a detailed declaration of income. This is widely debated and shared on FB, although the public’s reaction is ambiguous. For instance, Khadija Ismayil’s posting says:” Although this does not change the fact of him getting the mandate in the falsified elections, scandalous statements and does not increase his value as a lawmaker, but Erkin Gadirli has published the declaration of his income. This is an example for all politicians”  Gubad Ibadoglu while praising this act by Gadirli, urges him to extend this to the other MPs and to push implementation of the Regulations of the submission of the financial reports by the MPs” adopted in 2005 on 24 July. Habib Muntazir reports the appointment of Sarvan Jafarov, the new deputy to the Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov, who is the nephew of the MP Kamal Jafarov and the cousin of the minister himself. He has raised from the department adviser at the Committee on property through the assistant to the chair of ASAN service to the deputy minister of agriculture. Muntazir also reveals the informal prices of the ”permission” from police to arrange mass events during quarantine: the wedding party for 40-50 people -1.500-2000 manat, the funeral wake in the region-500/800 manat, to pass through the police post 50/6- manats etc. Gultakin Hajiyeva of National Council published the statement by her organization demanding to allocate 300 manat state aid to the citizens for July and August. She compares the state aid in pandemic with that in the US and proves that the national one is miniscule. She asserts that the real number of those in need is 3-4 times bigger than of those who received 190 manat aid. Natig Javadli writes about fiasco of the government plans to develop tourism, while doing nothing to nurture the attractiveness of the country. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR reports that their package of anti crisis measures  during the pandemic suggested on the 4th April has been adopted by the government without reference to the original and belated. FB users also report that the expenditure cut in the education and science field  will be – by 121 mln 29 thousand 862 manat. REAL suggests a few ways to do it and it will be presented by Erkin Gadirli. The FB community comments on the extension of quarantine to the 31st of August , but without SMS permissions, and with opening of the public beaches. The strict quarantine is extended to the weekends in 13 cities and regions. Altay Geyushov comments, that the quarantine regime has been lasting in Azerbaijan for decades, while the name of the virus is “Aliyevs”, which is now undergoing the next mutation.


Август 4, 2020







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