Center for National and International Studies
“The authorities have been trying to instill fear in the people […], and by doing so, they want to say that they don’t have any values and there is nothing for them to be afraid of…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
A veteran of the First Karabakh war, Saleh Rustamli is on hunger strike for a month, and the authorities have yet to decide on his release.
Activist Agil Layij reports that together with lawyers Behruz Bayramov, Yalchin Imanov, and Tural Agayev, they have prepared an application for Saleh Rustamov (Rustamli), who has been on hunger strike for weeks, and it will be submitted to the Nizami District Court of Baku. Layij added that Rustamli’s health had seriously deteriorated, and he suffers from kidney failure. According to Layij, given these circumstances, there should be no obstacles for the court to release him from the unserved sentence and that Rustamli will be released before it is too late.
Member of NCDF, Gultakin Hajibeyli, couldn’t hide her emotions as Rustamli’s health worsened. Hajibeyli wrote: I can’t write anything anymore. I am ashamed of my weakness and angry with myself. I am ashamed and angry at our society for being such a weak and helpless society. Where are the millions who said at this time last year, “we are ready to scarify our lives for the Azerbaijani soldiers and veterans” ?! Why now they don’t hear or see the last call and helplessness of a Karabakh hero?! Now, do you understand how fake the government’s love for Karabakh is ?!”
Former political prisoner journalist Khadija Ismayil argued that by keeping Rustamli in prison, Aliyev could only increase Rustamli’s popularity. Ismayil wrote: Saleh Rustamov is the opposite of everything embodied by Ilham Aliyev‘s team: He was an honest chief executive; during the crisis, he managed the budget without looting money; He took part in the war, and not even an inch of land was lost, but on the contrary, he managed to regain; he built his business on fairness and earned money for hard work. Aliyev can not tolerate Rustamli because he is afraid of this comparison. But when Rustamov was free, we did not remember his merits and good deeds. He is now in prison, and we remember him every day. If you kill him while he is in prison, we will not stop talking about him.”
The Ministry of Interior made a statement denying the torture the opposition politician Tofig Yagublu was subjected to. Journalist Mehman Huseynov reacted to the Ministry’s statement with his famous sense of humor. Huseynov wrote: We laugh at the situation for which we should be crying. The Interior Ministry reported that Tofig Yagublu was not beaten by police. I also believe that the police would not do such a thing. Our police take care of every citizen. Therefore, I voluntarily take the responsibility that it was me. Who wants to be a witness? Tofig Bey and I are looking for a volunteer “witness”. Let’s face it, let’s put an end to this. Let the police save our lives.”
Member of PFP Fuad Gahramanli argued that both Rustamli’s unlawful imprisonment despite his hunger strike and the act of torture against Tofig Yagublu, who demanded freedom for Rustamli, was a threatening message sent to the society on purpose. Gahramanli added that the authorities have been trying to instill fear in the people with growing cruelty, and by doing so, they want to say that they don’t have any values and there is nothing for them to be afraid of.”
Four participants of the last week’s rally were sentenced to administrative detention yesterday. They are: Elkhan Aliyev for 20 days; Ilham Huseyn for 30 days; Elchin Teymurov for 25 day; and Guliyev Sayyad (Karabakh veteran) for 15 days. In addition, youth activist Rustam Ismayilbeyli, who did not take part in the rally and was in Fountain Square after the rally took place, was arrested for 30 days. Although both Rustambayli and witnesses said that he did not take part in the protest, he was arrested after the rally. Activists believe that the reason behind this absurd arrest is Rustambayli’s political activism. Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev wrote that what is really a shame is that Rustam Ismayilbeyli is a final-year student and will be expelled from the university if he does not take the exams.
Tofig Yagublu’s daughter Nigar Hezi wrote that they went to the Neurosurgery Hospital again but could get neither her father’s computed tomography scan nor the doctor’s opinion. The chief physician at the hospital told Yabublus that either the lawyer should make an official request or there should be an inquiry on behalf of the prosecutor’s office in order to receive the CT scan. Nigar Hezi said that they were told that the injury was s serious and traumatic that the doctors couldn’t provide any documentation without an official request. Hezi added that obviously, the doctor was unable to do so because this issue is under police control, and they are afraid to provide the results of the CT scan.
Governance, corruption, transparency
Investigative journalist Mehman Huseynov wrote that the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Mariana Vasilyeva of Bulgarian descent, had crashed into one of the supermarkets in Baku while drunk a few years ago. The news about the accident was covered by the media at the time, but the links were later deleted after Vasilyeva was appointed to a higher position at the Ministry. Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev criticized the government’s latest appointment pointing out Vasliyeva’s ill behavior and the scandals she has been involved in in the past.
Post War Situation. Problems of veterans and families of the martyrs
Ten Armenian army men detained in Azerbaijan have been handed over to Armenia. It is reported that in return, the Armenian side has provided the map of areas with land mines in the liberated territories to Azerbaijan. According to the State Commission on Captives, Missing Persons and Hostages, the detainees were detained on November 16 this year while preventing a provocation by the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Kalbajar on the state border.
Economy and Social Issues
Meydan TV reported a heart-breaking story of Safura Khasmammadova, a mother of two veterans. A resident of Ujar region, now living in a rented house in Mingachevir, Khasmammadova’s husband and two sons had participated in the Karabakh wars. Her husband Zaur Khasmammadov, a serviceman of 28 years, who took part in the First Karabakh War, died in 2019. Her two sons returned the last year’s war with serious health problems, with one being in a critical condition. Having no support system Khasmammadova herself suffers from a serious illness.
“In winter, we wear a coat indoors” told Mirhasil Mammadov, who lives in Imishli region. Mammadov said that although he installed a wood stove, he couldn’t find anything to burn. Worrying about his young children, Mamamdov said that he has applied to almost every government agency for help, but unfortunately, all was in vain.
December 7, 2021