Center for National and International Studies



“Regimes as cruel and ruthless as this tend to make more absurd decisions towards its end. Our only consolation is that the increase in absurd decisions and cruelty indicates that their end is not far off…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

Jailed political figure and economist Gubad Ibadoghlu‘s visual ability is rapidly deteriorating, according to his brother, Galib Toghrul. Toghrul shared the disturbing news on his Facebook post. “The persistently high sugar levels have begun to cause severe damage to my brother’s organs. His visual ability is quickly declining. He can no longer read even the headlines on TV, which are displayed in large fonts (14-15 points), from a distance of 4-5 meters without glasses. We suspect that these are signs of diabetic retinopathy. I am writing “we suspect” because my brother has not undergone comprehensive examinations related to his sugar levels, and he has not been provided with adequate medical assistance. The endocrinologist of the Medical Department of the Ministry of Justice considers his job done by merely adjusting the insulin dose each time. As a family, we are in great distress because endocrinologists and ophthalmologists know very well that constantly elevated blood sugar levels create conditions for degenerative processes in the retina (retinal nerve layer): they burst capillaries, cause hemorrhages, reduce vascular permeability, and lead to the accumulation of fluid in the yellow spot area and clogging of capillaries. The retinal nerve layer’s deterioration in this way is an irreversible process. Delay may lead to my brother completely and permanently losing his vision. We are unaware of the alarming processes occurring in my brother’s other organs (kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system) because systematic and in-depth examinations and analyses are not being conducted. Despite all this, the documents sent by the Ministry of Justice to the European Court of Human Rights still include analysis and examination indicators that do not reflect the truth about my brother’s health and medical opinions that betray their profession (conscience). In addition to what I have mentioned, my brother is suffering from unexplained chronic fatigue, weakness, and persistent headaches. Our concern has reached its peak! We have lost hope in everyone!”

Channel 13’s detained employee, Shamo Eminov, attempted suicide. The journalist was targeted and insulted in the Kurdakhani detention facility. He attempted suicide after being unable to withstand these insults. This information was shared by lawyer Elchin Sadigov. However, the Ministry of Justice and the Penitentiary Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan have not commented on the matter yet. Lawyer Elchin Sadigov stated that his appeal against the extension of Shamo Eminov’s detention for an additional two months, as per the ruling of the Sabail District Court dated March 19, 2024, was reviewed under the chairmanship of Judge Anar Tanriverdiyev at the Baku Court of Appeals. However, the appeal was dismissed, and the decision was upheld unchanged. Eminov mentioned that he is suffering from severe pain in his left kidney and has stomach ulcers. Additionally, he reported being subjected to targeting and insults in the detention facility where he is held.

The court hearing at the Khatai District Court regarding the bail release of media rights expert and lawyer Alasgar Mammadli was reviewed. Mammadli‘s medical diagnoses and blood test results were presented to both the investigator and the court. Following approximately one hour of proceedings, the judge returned from deliberation and announced that bail was denied. Mammadli voiced in court that his arrest lacked evidence or justification. He expressed bewilderment at his continued detention despite his innocence. Alongside restating his innocence, he underscored the severity of his health issues to the judge. Mammadli disclosed that the lump in his neck has enlarged, leading to breathing difficulties. Due to the lack of facilities, a needle biopsy cannot be conducted in the detention center. He stressed the necessity of referral to specialized clinics for further diagnosis and treatment. Even during the court session, his elevated blood pressure was measured, and additional medication was administered due to a significant rise. The decision to refuse Mammadli‘s bail release was critical in impeding his treatment. Following the court session, an immediate official electronic appeal was submitted to the Ministry of Justice and the Penitentiary Service for Mammadli’s transfer to a medical facility to continue his treatment and examination there.

The APFP member, Elkhan Aliyev, a severely ill person who has suffered two strokes and is the father of three young children, was deprived of freedom for five years by a court order. According to the Party, the Azerbaijani government once again trampled on the country’s Constitution and laws by arresting him on trumped-up charges. “Ilham Aliyev persistently strives to align the country with Turkmenistan standards”, said Party leader Ali Karimli.

The implementation of new regulations will significantly impact the operations of most taxi service providers in Azerbaijan. The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan has specified the permissible colors for vehicles commonly used in passenger transportation. Consequently, in Baku, only vehicles adhering to these designated colors will be allowed to operate. This decision was formalized with the approval of a relevant document on March 28. Accordingly, vehicles utilized for intercity (inter-district) passenger transportation must be painted white, while those serving intra-city (intra-district) routes must be red. Electric motor vehicles intended for both intercity and intra-city passenger transport will be painted green. Taxis and minicabs are required to be either white or red. Taxis must meet safety standards by providing safety belts for both drivers and passengers, in addition to complying with the “Euro-5” environmental standard. Automobiles older than 15 years from their release date are prohibited from being used for passenger transportation, including taxis. Taxis in Azerbaijan will be exclusively white and red, with appropriate signage indicating their status. Minicabs must be equipped with video cameras capable of recording the entire cabin and storing data for at least one month. Vehicles older than 15 years from their release date, as stated in the state registration certificate, cannot be utilized for passenger transportation as minicabs. These new requirements will take effect from July 1, 2024.

Ali Karimli, the chairperson of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), reacted to to the new regulations regarding taxis, saying that thousands of people will become jobless as a result. “They were very concerned that, how come, 67 thousand taxi drivers bring money home every day. They were worried that so many people were feeding their families with their own halal labor without showing gratitude for the regime. After all, they have learned that in this country, people either have to live in poverty or express gratitude to the regime several times a day to feed their families. In their opinion, no one in this country can have anything unless the government allows it, or at least doesn’t take it away. That’s why the regime views those who can support their families without depending on the government as a source of danger. The political reason for cracking down on taxi drivers is this. But an important reason before that is economic, material reason. The ruling elite thinks, why shouldn’t the millions operating in the taxi service further enrich them? When the income from taxi services is shared among 60 thousand people, drivers do not have much money left, of course. But still, when this money is accounted for their family members, and if more than 200 thousand people live on it, it means a significant amount will accumulate in a single cash register. With that money, they could buy more properties, not only in London but also expand supermarket chains in Azerbaijan, for example. Or better yet, they could use those millions to invest in the drug business. After all, the highest income is in the pharmaceutical monopoly. They easily sell the drugs they buy from abroad at a price 6-7 times higher to helpless people. For Ilham Aliyev and his team, the country’s 10 million people are primarily consumers, buyers, and customers. The regime has assigned us a role as a people. We should spend every penny we earn with the utmost difficulty or the money we receive from the state as salary, pension, or benefits every month on food and other goods produced in their companies and sold in their supermarkets and shopping centers. We should spend the remaining money on buying drugs from their pharmaceutical monopoly and getting treatment in their hospitals. We should also spend a portion of what we have left in their wedding halls. We should also give bribes to their officials from the rest of the money, and we should also pay the predatory interest rates of their banks. Moreover, we should also cover expenses such as telephone, internet charges, and fines collected by traffic police. Now think for yourself, would a regime that manages such a country tolerate that 60 thousand people bring home 15-20 manats every day? They wouldn’t, and they didn’t. Unfortunately, this is not the end. Regimes as cruel and ruthless as this tend to make more absurd decisions towards its end. Our only consolation is that the increase in absurd decisions and cruelty indicates that their end is not far off.”

On a similar note, the director of the Baku Research Institute Altay Goyushov said that the government’s objective is to monopolize any sector that could potentially benefit individuals. “In our country, the State Oil Fund is solely focused on oil and gas, depriving people of purposeful opportunities to earn, create, and build. Whenever someone creates or builds something, the government immediately mobilizes all its power—its police, tax authorities, customs, special services, prosecutors, and courts—to destroy them. I’m not dramatizing. This is the nature of the Pharaonic system, and a 30-year history proves it. This government sometimes collaborates with Iran, sometimes with China, and now supposedly with Russia to produce cars. Yet, they reject all proposals from respected European car manufacturers. Why? Because this government is not concerned about the quality of life for its people, nor their earnings or prosperity. Their sole purpose is to halt the country’s development, deprive the people of prosperity, and protect their own power, even if it means sacrificing the country’s development and people’s prosperity.”

April 2, 2024