Center for National and International Studies
“Authoritarianism not only destroys political rights and freedoms but also crushes culture and humanism under its tyranny and cultivates human types that fit its nature…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Member of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Alizamin Salayev has been on hunger strike in jail for more than 80 days. Salayev was arrested in February on the charges of “hooliganism” and placed in pre-trial detention. He started a hunger strike to demand freedom and to protest for being denied family visits and medical checkups. Chairperson of the APFP Ali Karimli, attended Salayev’s recent trials and called his illegal arrest “a terrible injustice.” Karimli: I saw Alizamin Bey in court. His condition is very sad. He is unable to sit, stand, or walk without support. He lost 45 kg during the 85-day hunger strike. The court did not change its decision about the pre-trial detention. They didn’t grant his request for house arrest. It is cruelty and torture against Alizamin bey. Our people should not be silent about this terrible injustice.”
During the court hearing, it was revealed that the investigator conducting the case requested video images of the “crime” of which Salayev is accused from the relevant Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) agency, and they replied that there was a malfunction in the video cameras in the area on that day and the image was not recorded. Lawyer Nemat Kerimli appealed to the MIA, and they replied that because a lot of time had passed, those images had already been deleted from the computer’s memory.
Reporters Without Borders shared its annual report of the World Press Freedom Index. According to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, which evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories, Azerbaijan ranked 151st among 180 countries. “President Ilham Aliyev has wiped out any semblance of pluralism, and since 2014, he has sought ruthlessly to silence any remaining critics,” said the report. In the South Caucaucasus region, Armenia jumped two levels up and ranked 49th, while neighbors Georgia is 77th, and Turkey is 165th.
Participant in the Second Karabakh War, Kanan Guliyev, protested in front of the Cabinet of Ministers. According to the veteran, he was injured during the Second Karabakh War, and after the end of the war, he was discharged with a diagnosis of unfit for military service. However, Guliyev was denied to receive disability status.
Governance and Corruption
“PASHA Holding,” which is believed to belong to the ruling family, has announced that it launch a new taxi service. “Umico” brand of the holding has signed an agreement with “Uklon” taxi company of Ukraine. The new taxi service will be operational from May 3. Osman Gunduz, ICT expert and president of Azerbaijan Internet Form, wrote on his Facebook page that this new company “will make the competition in the taxi services market of Azerbaijan, which is mainly dominated by foreign taxi companies, a bit more intense.”
Moreover, Turkey’s leading e-commerce platform “Trendyol” signed an agreement with “PASHA Holding” agreeing to establish a joint online shopping company. Experts argue that it is an attempt by Pasha Holding to monopolize online shopping, and it may cause a price increase in online shopping.
7-year-old Farid Bakarov died of injuries during judo training in one of the schools located in Sumgait City. In the videos spread on social media, the teacher’s abusive treatment of the minor sparked outrage. Although Bakarov lost consciousness and fell down on the floor, the teacher continued to attack him. In connection with the abusive behavior of the teacher, a criminal case was opened in the Sumgayit city prosecutor’s office under Article 126.3 of the Criminal Code (in case of intentional serious harm to health caused resulted in the death of the victim).
Member of the APFP Fuad Gahramanli commented on the tragic incident saying that the recent acts of violence expressed by the individuals are the extension of political suppression. Gahramanli: “This regime relies only on the factor of violence to maintain its existence. It tries to forcibly fit society into a frame using its power to make people accept power as a superior value that is obeyed. Since the laws limiting authority have become a tool for controlling and whipping the oppressed right in the hands of the ruling class, the ordinary people who are used to living in these conditions, crushed and broken by the power, try to crush each other as much as possible, and to release the shame and anger of their personalities that have been oppressed by the state. In such environments, gangsters who rely on their power can be found everywhere, not only in the state apparatus. People who have turned violence into a code of conduct, a tool for self-actualization, and a means of satisfying their ego can appear everywhere as teachers, officials, businessmen, neighbors, passengers, etc. They are the children of the society governed by the laws of the jungle, which our ruling culture has cultivated, and the regime that sustains itself thanks to these laws. And in this way, feelings such as pity, compassion, and mercy become unnecessary. Authoritarianism not only destroys political rights and freedoms but also crushes culture and humanism under its tyranny and cultivates human types that fit its nature.”
“Dialogue is key to reaching a lasting peace in the South Caucasus region,” US Secretary State Blinken tweeted on May 1 as the talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan started in Washington DC. According to the US State Department, “the meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia was “constructive”. The talks between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov began on May 1 in the US through the mediation of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Although the details of the talks have not been disclosed, Kremlin has already announced that peace in the region “first of all is possible on the basis of those trilateral documents that were signed together with Russia.” US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said that a number of American diplomats are involved in the talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “We believe that peace between these two countries is possible, and we are happy to accept them. We expect peace and stability between these two countries and in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Patel.
May 5, 2023