Center for National and International Studies
“In the eyes of these brainwashed masses, the right of a flag is greater than the right of a person.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Anar Aliyev, a refugee in Germany who went to Baku to see his relatives, was arrested for drug abuse. Aliyev denied the allegation and said that the reason for his arrest is his participation in the rallies against the Azerbaijani government in Germany. Aliyev was granted refugee status in Germany for humanitarian reasons. His relatives said that drugs were added to his drink at the police station.
Baku Court of Appeal upheld the 30-day administrative arrest decision of Alikram Khurshidov, the adviser to the chairman of the Musavat Party. Chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli called the arrests illegal and called the government to immediately release them. Hasanli said that while the government claims that it protects the Azerbaijani flag, all the trumped-up charges against the activists are made under the same flag. Hasanli wrote: “The point is that all these fake judgments, illegal decisions, and resolutions on trumped-up charges were passed in the courtrooms where the Azerbaijani flag was hung. How is it that respect for the flag is not remembered during so much disgrace? While disrespecting the flag abroad is condemned, is not there a price for insulting the flag in the country?”
Government, Transparency, Corruption
On Thursday, the embassy of Azerbaijan in London was attacked by a radical religious group. According to the news, the attack was carried out by the Shia group called Mahdi Servants Union (MSU). As seen in the footage shared on social media, the group took down the Azerbaijani flag on the balcony of the embassy and crashed the pictures of former president Heydar Aliyev and his son, current president Ilham Aliyev. Shortly before the attack, the MSU had posted a statement on its website saying that the group’s leader, Kuwait-born Yasser Al-Habib, had been “informed” about the “persecution” of a woman in Azerbaijan who had written Shiite slogans on the outside of her home and raised a Shiite flag. According to the statement, Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry said that her actions amounted to “extremism” and that “raising any flag other than the national flag was unacceptable.” On August 5, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Charge d’Affaires of the British Embassy and expressed “a strong protest in connection with the attack by a radical religious group against the Azerbaijani embassy in London a day ago.” According to the Daily Mail, eight people have been arrested on suspicion of trespassing and criminal damage after the storming of the Embassy. The British Embassy to Baku, in its statement, condemned the attack. “The UK takes seriously its obligation to guarantee the protection of diplomatic missions in the country and the police are liaising with the Embassy of Azerbaijan to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place,” said the statement.
The attack on the embassy caused public outrage, and many speculations were made about the possible reasons behind the attack. While pro-governmental media and members of the ruling party warned about the risk of radical Islam in Azerbaijan, independent journalists and experts claimed that such an attack could only serve the interests of the current government. Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli argued that the attack “was staged by the direct order of Ilham Aliyev to give a clear message to the West that “If I leave, radical religious people will come to power.”
Mukhtarli also blamed the security service at the embassy for “creating favorable conditions” for the attackers.”
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli condemned the attack and said that the storming of the embassy should not be used to incite additional tension inside the country. “The attack of a group of religious people on the Azerbaijani embassy in Great Britain, climbing on the balcony of the embassy and throwing down the Azerbaijani flag is a barbaric act, regardless of the motive, and is universally condemned by our people”, Karimli wrote on his Facebook page.
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that “it is the duty of the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan and Great Britain to thoroughly investigate the actions related to the attack on the embassy, identify all the intruders and bring those who committed the crime to justice.”
According to the Ministry of Defense, on August 5, a large piece of rock fell on Azerbaijani military personnel – soldiers Samir Khudiyev and Tahir Aliyev in Lachin region. Both soldiers who were on duty died of the injuries. The Ministry of Defense said that a criminal case had been opened in connection with the incident, and the soldiers will be given the status of martyr.
At least five soldiers of the Azerbaijani army have been killed in the last couple of days. While the ministry didn’t give further information about the cause of their death, the opposition demanded the government to provide the details of the situation in the Karabakh region. Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu said that the deceased soldiers were the victims of Aliyev’s regime. Yagublu wrote: “We have lost five soldiers in the last two days. Ilham Aliyev still says that Armenia capitulated, and this conflict went into the archives of history. Our endless respect for the dear memory of our martyrs. They are victims of Ilham Aliyev‘s November agreement.”
Russian military ship with the symbol of occupation appeared on the coast of Baku. Azadliq newspaper reports that Russian warships with the Z mark on them have arrived on the coast of Baku. According to the official information, the ships arrived to participate in the “Sea Cup” competition, which will be held within the framework of the ‘International Army Games-2022” competitions in the Azerbaijani part of the Caspian Sea. The Z symbol is a symbol of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. In some countries, this symbol is prohibited by law.
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said “minister of economy Mikayil Jabbarov‘s statement that we must be prepared for the upcoming crisis is an attempt to place the responsibility of the crisis on the global processes.” According to Ibadoghlu, in the last 30 years, the government failed to establish a sustainable national economy, and the transition to a market economy was not completed. “The expected crisis will be caused by the decline of oil price in the world market,” said Ibadoghlu.
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli criticized the government’s economic policy saying that “by announcing that there could be an economic crisis, the government tries to prepare the public for the next high level of inflation.” Karimli wrote: “The price of oil hovered around the peaks for 18 months straight and 30-40% inflation was the “share” of our people from the 26 billion manats profit due to the increase in oil prices. The government announced that a new crisis is coming. Our people were already suffering from the crisis. They say that the current crisis was due to the high price of oil, and the upcoming crisis will be due to the drop in oil prices. Thanks to the unparalleled administration of Ilham Aliyev, there is a crisis in our country both when the price of oil rises and when it falls.”
Exiled journalist Ganimat Zahid reported that Azerbaijan State Oil Company (SOCAR) is now in charge of selling consumer products in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Zahid wrote: “Putin gave Ilham Aliyev the right to wholesale and retail sales of almost all consumer goods in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The trading is conducted through SOCAR. The bill you see in the photo was sent by my Ukrainian acquaintance who was shopping in a supermarket in Kherson, and he asked why Putin offered such a luxury to Aliyev. This is not just a simple purchase but also a very profitable trade between Putin and Aliyev. For example, cigarettes that cost 70 hryvnia before the occupation are now sold for 150 hryvnia. Also, the price of all other food products and other goods is 2-3 times higher now. Simply, this question remains open: I wonder if some Ukrainian, Polish, or Lithuanian company establishes economic relations with the occupying regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, and if it engages in such open trade affairs, what would be the attitude of our government and society?”
Commenting on the demolition of the residential building near the Javanshir Bridge, director of Baku Research Institute Altay Goyushov said that the government doesn’t respect the property rights of the citizens. Goyushov wrote: “So, there have been talking about the demolition of a building near the former Gagarin Bridge. Residents are not satisfied with the compensation they were offered. They have rights as the owners of the properties. On the one hand, the government is using the Karabakh issue to buy the property of the people for a much lower price. They say they will build a Victory museum in its place. On the other hand, the same government sends its agent to raid the community’s house and destroy its interior. At the same time, the state cuts off electricity and water to those who are formally called citizens so that they can’t endure the siege and surrender. Well, is this state’s job to take away the property of the citizens and destroy it, or is it its responsibility to protect that property from danger and to guarantee its safety? No museum, no matter what its name, is more important than the well-being of the people who live there.” Goyushov added that the public is also responsible for the current situation by staying indifferent to politics. Goyushov wrote: “In the eyes of these brainwashed masses, the right of the flag is greater than the right of a person. They don’t care about a person whose property is taken away and whose rights are trampled upon, a person who is defamed and thrown into prison, or a war veteran whose rights are violated. The masses don’t care if someone is elected to the parliament on their behalf or not.”
August 9, 2022