Center for National and International Studies
“Aliyev regime’s primary goal is not to serve its citizens but to prolong its authoritarian power, supported by foreign patrons, its intellectual subordinates, and a domestic population caught in a state of modern servitude.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
According to a statement made by lawyer Elchin Sadigov to Meydan TV, the Baku City General Police Department is currently carrying out searches and conducting investigative measures at various locations linked to jailed activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. These locations include the house where Bakhtiyar Hajiyev resides in the capital city, his father’s house in Ganja, the apartments of his brother and friends, as well as his car. The lawyer also mentioned that the phones of these individuals had been seized as well. Hajiyev‘s friend Rail Abbasov was detained, and he was denied to see his lawyer.
Member of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party and Resistance Movement, Ziyafat Abbasova, has been admitted to a psychiatric dispensary after her disappearance two days ago. The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ press service stated that Ziyafat Abbasova was placed in the psychiatric dispensary based on complaints from several citizens residing in the shelter where she lives concerning her health condition, and she is currently undergoing treatment. Earlier reports indicated that Ziyafat Abbasova had gone missing since the morning of June 6, when she was expected to attend the book presentation by historian Jamil Hasanli, the chairman of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF). However, Abbasova did not attend the book presentation. Ziyafat Abbasova, a member of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Prosperity Party and the Resistance Movement, was placed in a psychiatric dispensary. A day after her disappearance the Ministry of Internal Affairs clarified the whereabouts of the political activist, confirming that was admitted to the mental hospital. Abbasova expressed concerns to her family members, stating that she believes the government has intentions to imprison her for an extended period of time or potentially cause harm to her life. Recently, Abbasova has been actively voicing her dissatisfaction with the government on social media, openly expressing her criticism.
Opposition leader and chairperson of the NCDF Jamil Hasanli has issued a statement regarding Abbasova’s case, demanding her immediate release. Hasanli raised several key points in his comment. Firstly, he questioned the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ spokesperson for failing to clarify the basis on which an individual can be involuntarily placed in a psychiatric institution due to a citizen’s complaint. Secondly, he inquired about the entity responsible for assessing Abbasova’s health condition, whether it was the police or a specialized medical institution. Thirdly, he highlighted that the law enforcement agency entrusted with upholding the law seems to be unaware of or intentionally disregarding the legal requirement that only a court decision can authorize the compulsory treatment of a citizen. “Neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs nor its subsidiary, “Bandotdel,” possess the authority to diagnose an individual or send them to a mental institution. Hasanli drew parallels between this situation and past instances where the Soviet KGB abused their power by fabricating mental illnesses to silence dissent and punish free-thinking individuals. Hasanli expressed concern that the current actions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and “Bandotdel” echo this dark chapter in history.
According to numerous human rights defenders, the Aliyev regime has initiated a new wave of repression against the opposition. Lately, a significant number of activists have been detained. Journalist Teymur Karimov was taken into custody by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, commonly referred to as “bandotdel.” Karimov, who captured and shared images of legitimate protests by the Dashkasan community, found himself targeted while the authorities have not commented on the allegations of corruption. Moreover, instead of investigating the complaint lodged by Dashkasan resident Anar Suleymanov against an official, the authorities have administratively detained him for 30 days. Two other residents of Dashkasan, Musayev Ismayil and Allahverdiyev Polad, who protested corrupt officials in Dashkasan, were fined 300 and 500 manats, respectively. Zaur Ahmadov, another activist associated with the Salyan branch of the APFP, has also been subjected to administrative arrest for 30 days. Additionally, young activist Amrah Tahmazov received a 30-day administrative detention sentence for his critical posts on social media.
In response to the recent arrests, Afgan Mukhtarli, an exiled journalist, asserted that all crimes in Azerbaijan have a political dimension. According to him, the government is responsible for every murder. Mukhtarli claimed that under the leadership of Ilham Aliyev, the Tovuz police and the entire state machinery concealed the murder of minor Narmin. He further alleged that a fabricated verdict was delivered under Aliyev‘s direct supervision. In Mukhtarli‘s perspective, every crime, whether it be a minor theft or the case of grave crime, is a consequence of the corrupt regime led by Aliyev. He claimed that either Aliyev himself commits the crimes or people are compelled to engage in criminal activities due to the predatory nature of his regime.
Governance and Corruption
In a recent development concerning the 2.5 million manat fraud case involving the son-in-law of the ruling Party YAP chairman, a new decision has been reached. The cassation protest against the acquittal of former police officer Elvin Hashimli, who was accused of the said fraud, was reviewed. According to “Qafqazinfo,” the Supreme Court has deemed the prosecutor’s protest to be justified. The court concluded that the previous acquittal decision regarding Elvin Hashimli did not align with the actual circumstances of the case. As a result, the Baku Court of Appeal’s decision was completely overturned, and the case has been rescheduled for further review. Elvin Hashimli was accused of a significant amount of fraud. The prosecution alleged that he deceived the victim, Mohkam Samadov, by making false promises in the name of establishing a business and fraudulently obtaining 2.5 million manats from him. The criminal case was initially investigated at the Baku Serious Crimes Court, which ultimately acquitted Elvin Hashimli due to a lack of evidence supporting his guilt. The protest against the verdict was not upheld by the Baku Court of Appeal. Elvin Hashimli had previously served as an investigator in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Khatai District Police Department before being expelled from the internal affairs bodies. He is the son of Elchin Hashimli, the former head of the Narimanov District Housing and Communal Management Union, and the son-in-law of Vahid Aliyev, chairman of YAP‘s Khojaly district organization.
The head of MAKA (National Aerospace Agency) has been implicated in a scandal involving a significant sum of half a million dollars. Nagi Kangarli, widely recognized as one of the pioneering businessmen in Azerbaijan’s gold industry, had aspirations of holding a governmental position back in 2014. Natig Javadov, who currently serves as the General Director of the National Aerospace Agency and chairs the expert council on Technical Sciences of the Higher Attestation Commission, pledged to secure Kangarli a prominent role with the assistance of Arif Pashayev. It is worth noting that Javadov received the esteemed “Progress” medal from President Ilham Aliyev in 2011.
Gubad Ibadoghlu, the Chairperson of the ADWP (Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party), has commented on the recent corruption scandals and arbitrary arrests, emphasizing the importance of active public demand for accountability and justice. “The Aliyev regime, which has illicitly accumulated substantial capital through looting national resources and misappropriating state budget funds, channels these ill-gotten gains into foreign economies.” Ibadoghlu asserts that the regime’s primary goal is not to serve its citizens but to prolong its authoritarian power, supported by foreign patrons, intellectual subordinates, and a domestic population caught in a state of modern servitude. “Despite facing oppression, the people continue to strive for their daily necessities by tirelessly working day in and day out”, said Ibadoghlu.
June 9, 2023