Center for National and International Studies



“If Inam Karimov is appointed as the judge of the Supreme Court, it is because he has owned the trust of  the ruling family…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties

 In recent weeks, many clerics, theologians, and religious people have been arrested on the charges of espionage or illegal use of drug. According to unofficial reports, the number of those arrested and detained on various charges is around 400-500. Chairperson of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) Jamil Hasanli expressed his objection to the mass arrest,  calling on the authorities to immediately stop illegal and arbitrary arrests. Hasanli: “The Azerbaijani authorities punish the citizens and carry out mass arrests against the background of strained relations with Iran. Clerics are labeled as spies without investigation or trial. In order to avoid the second “Tartar crimes”, I express my objection to the massive arrest of the country’s well-known religious leaders, theological scholars, and citizens of the Islamic faith on drug and other false charges and to label them as spies and agents without conducting any investigation or presenting any evidence. I demand the authorities stop this disgraceful campaign.”

Teenager Muhammad Hajiyev, who lives in an orphanage in the Khatai district of Baku, said in a post on social media that there is not enough food in the orphanage. He complained about the disturbing situation in the orphanage and said that “there is no state institution to prevent this arbitrariness.” After his post on social media, Hajiyev was admitted to a psychiatric hospital on the grounds that he suffered from mental illness. However, the head doctor of Republican Psychiatric Hospital Agahasan Rasulov said that Hajiyev was mentally stable and accusations about his well-being were wrong. Although Rasulov said that Hajiyev should be sent back to the orphanage, the administration of the orphanage refused to admit Hajiyev. Soon after his statement, Rasulov was dismissed from his position.

Commenting on the situation in the orphanage, chairperson of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Ali Karimli said that the regime has no tolerance even for minor criticism. Karimli’s Facebook post: “With the blessing of the silent majority, the authoritarian regime in our country has moved towards a dictatorship. Alizamin Salayev, who has been starving for 58 days, is brought closer to death every day with the silent consent of the public. A teenager admitted to a psychiatric hospital because he complained about the lack of food in the orphanage is also silenced with the tacit consent of this society. Doctor Aghahasan, who dared to openly say that the teenager is not mentally ill, is being punished with the tacit consent of our society. The issue with the regime and its anti-human nature is clear. However, as a nation, we should also think about our responsibility. What kind of country do we want to live in? How long will we personally wait for a knock on our door?”

One of the employees of the orphanage told Meydan TV that investigations have been started, and there are inspections regarding the activities of the facility. Several Employees of the orphanage have already been interrogated. The employee, who wanted to be cited anonymously, said that they were instructed by the Baku City Executive Authority to troll on social networks. As for the teenager, the employee said that Hajiyev “is a very smart and intelligent person but sometimes drinks and smokes and occasionally fights with other children.”

Azadliq newspaper reports that Rashad Guliyev, the chairman of the Youth Committee of the APFP Ganja Branch, has been summoned to the State Security Service. When Guliyev said he could not go to Baku because of his work commitments, he was threatened by the employees of the State Service that “if necessary, they would take him forcibly”.

 Governance and Corruption

Ilkin Elchin oghlu Suleymanov, who was first accused as one of the perpetrators of the armed attack against MP Fazil Mustafa, was charged with illegal drug use. According to Meydan TV, Ilkin Suleymanova was charged with articles 234.4.1 and 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code (acquiring, transporting, or storing a large amount of drugs for the purpose of sale by a group of persons who colluded in advance). The investigation of the criminal case against Ilkin Suleymanov is being conducted at the Binagadi District Police Department. Suleymanov’s relatives told Meydan TV that neither family members nor his lawyer could meet him since he was detained on April 2. Although the security camera footage of the café where Suleymanov had a meeting with his friends at the time of the attack proved the accusation against him wrong, he was still not released. According to Suleymanov’s family, the accusations against him are absolutely baseless. Suleymanovs believe that Ilkin Suleymanov’s arrest was carried out within the framework of recent mass arrests of religious people.

 The Milli Majlis approved the candidacy of Inam Karimov as the judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Karimov is expected to be officially appointed by the decree of the head of state. However, Karimov’s appointment raised eyebrows on the grounds that Karimov does not have relevant experience. Commenting on the appointment, the chairperson of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that this not only violates the constitutional rights of the executive power but also creates a very dangerous precedent. “In doing so, the parliament and the president violated the Constitution and the Law “On Courts and Judges”, creating another bad example. Thus, according to Article 94 of the Law “On Courts and Judges”, the judges of higher instance courts are usually chosen among the persons who have worked as judges for the first instance courts for at least five years. Although Inam Karimov is a lawyer, he is appointed as the head of the judicial power of the country without working for a single day in the judicial system not only as a judge but even as a technician.”

Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli also pointed out the lack of experience, saying that considering his performance as the Minister of Agriculture, Karimov’s appointment does not promise any hope. “He has been the Minister of Agriculture for years. During those years, agriculture collapsed, farms have been destroyed, farmers were dying of hunger, lands were seized by the Aliyev family, water was given to certain families, and all areas of agriculture, from cotton to cocoons, were monopolized by the Aliyev family. And what I have listed was possible thanks to the works of Inam Karimov, who gained the confidence of the Aliyevs. Inam Karimov has now been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court because he has owned the ruling family’s trust. If this person is head of the Supreme Court, you should be prepared for terrible repressions.”

April 7, 2023