Center for National and International Studies
“Thirteen-year imprisonment neither can frighten me nor can it turn me away from my way.”
Governance, economy, corruption. New appointees to the executives of city councils raise the question of their accountability and transparency in management. FB community debates whether the current state- the head of executive power in the cities is appointed by the president- can explain the root causes of the problems in the cities such as Baku. As a result of current law, the unchecked power is concentrated in the hands of the non-elected executive body that uses its power to create systematic discrimination, nepotism that serves its dubious interests. The only way to solve this issue is the election, according to the FB commentators. The mayor of Baku should be chosen by elections, not by someone’s appointment so that he/she will serve the people and pay attention to the needs of electors.
Fuad Gahramanli touched upon the current corruption scandal surrounding the ruling family by pointing out public negligence. Gahramanli is of the opinion that “the reaction of a normal society to theft never depends on numbers…the society that is indifferent to stolen 700 million reacts in the same indifference to corruption worth 70 billion.” Therefore, as a nation, our reaction to the facts revealed in London is not related to the numbers, it reflects our attitude to the fact of theft itself, concluded Gahramanli.
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev draws attention to the systematic corruption in the Ministry of Social Welfare, criticizing the incompetence of the Ministry in providing assistance to the citizens.
Samir Kazimli called the arrest of activist Anar Abdulla and the 13-year imprisonment of APFP activist Niyamaddin Ahmadov “a continuation of the government’s years of repressive policies.” Kazimli added that these arrests are politically motivated, and the authorities must end their policy of repression, politically motivated arrests, and release political prisoners. According to Kazimli, “in the lights of recent tensions in the region where our country is located, the policy of repression is not going to serve for the good of the state.”
Professor Jamil Hasanli criticized Aliyev’s “shameless behavior,” referring to his recent visit to a zoo in Baku. Hasanli wrote: The whole world is waiting for an explanation for the theft of 700 million dollars, the 17 luxury mansions they bought for their underage son with this stolen money, the property worth 66.6 million pounds that was “sold” to the Royal Estate in the UK and in response they are having fun with a tiger at the zoo like a child, pretending to be unaware of what is happening. How shameless are they?”
Human Rights and Liberties.
The FB community and the activists were outraged by the decision of the court sentencing Niyameddin Ahmadov, the former bodyguard of opposition leader Ali Karimli to 13 years in prison.
Ali Karimli shared in his FB past that Niyamaddin Ahmadov was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Karimli wrote: We were not surprised by this cruelty, this revenge, this cowardice. They want to intimidate the public so that the people cannot protest against their theft…but it will not be possible to silence and surrender our people.”
Fuad Gahramanli said that they will appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal and will defend Ahmadov until the last moment. However, Gahramanli added that “we can lose Niyamaddin at any moment, as his health is deteriorating due to the ongoing hunger strike. That’s why we are very worried. It is the moral duty of each of us not to leave him alone in this situation today. We demand freedom for Niyamaddin!”
Political prisoner Polad Aslanov’s wife Gulmira Aslanova informed the FB community about the unlawful treatment of her husband Polad at the prison. Aslanova mentioned that she demands an explanation about the misbehavior of the officials in prison and unfair treatment against her husband. Aslanova also said that she has already informed the Ombudsman’s Office and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baku regarding the situation.
Meydan TV reports that writer Karamat Boyukchol‘s father Gasham Najafzadeh said that his son was taken to Mashtaga Narcological Clinic in the morning of October 7, and he is currently unaware of his son’s condition as his (Karamat’s) phone was confiscated.
The head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, Professor Jamil Hasanli, responded to the forceful hospitalization of writer Karamat Boyukchol. Boyukchol was forcibly taken to a psychiatric hospital by police officers without any notice to his family. Hasanli said that “during the Soviet times, anti-Soviet writers and scientists were used to be hospitalized against their will. The Soviet government resorted to such inhumane methods to portray its critics as psychologically incomplete. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became clear that the healthiest people in Soviet society were those who were forcibly placed in psychotropic hospitals by the regime. Karamat is one of the healthy people of today’s sick society.” Hasanli continued that, “in the past, many people were sent to such “clinics” with the order of Heydar Aliyev. They even managed “to cure” one of those “unstable persons” so successfully that he is now a member of the YAP (ruling New Azerbaijan Party). Now, in the person of Karamat, creative people are sent to “hospitals” on the instructions of Ilham Aliyev. Forcibly placing a young writer in such places for his critical views is a serious violation of the law, and in addition, it is a moral violation.”
Ali Karimli reflected on the illegal detention of Fuad Ahmadli, saying that if arrest could change his (Fuad) mind, the four-year imprisonment would have “corrected” him. “Fuad Ahmadli, who has been on a four-year illegal imprisonment, cannot be deterred by a 30-day detention,” concluded Karimli. Fuad Ahmadli, representing the APFP Youth Committee, was detained for 30 days following the court hearing of Niyamaddin Ahmadov.
Azadliq Newspaper shared the final statement made by Niyammeddin Ahmadov, who was charged on trumped accusations and sentenced to 13 years in prison: “I do not accept the accusations -for a crime I did not commit- against me. If it is a crime to stand with Ali Karimli, to hold his hand, punish me. Even if you arrest my body, what I know will not change. Thirteen-year imprisonment neither can frighten me nor can it turn me away from my way.”
Independent politician and activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was attacked verbally and physically by the police officers in Baku. Reacting to the attacks on activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, the chairman of the Popular Front Party Ali Karimli said that he does not consider it accidental that Hajiyev was subjected to police violence, and he does not doubt that this violence is due to Hajiyev’s harsh criticism of the government. Karimli added that the government is afraid of criticism because it knows that it is unjust and that the people are dissatisfied with it. “Because of this fear, the regime tries to intimidate the public by silencing the political activists,” concluded Karimli.
Azadliq newspaper reports that the women, who came to the court to attend the trial of Niyamaddin Ahmadov, were abducted by the police and were later abandoned on the highway outside of Baku. Gulnara Rahimova, Tunzala Amirova, Matanat Turan, Konul Ahmadova, the women who were forcibly taken away by the police, shared photos that show the signs of injuries that occurred during their abduction.
Post-conflict situation. Journalist Ruzgar Movsum reports that the families of the war veterans and martyrs are in a desperate situation and dire need of help as they face harsh economic difficulties. “Every two or three months, a veteran commits suicide because he could not cope with the psychological trauma afterward the war while Ilham Aliyev steals money from the state budget to enrich himself and his family,” added Movsum.
Azadliq newspaper reports the case of another veteran from Sutamirdov village of Lankaran. Kamran Hasanov lost his left eye in battle but is still unable to obtain a degree of disability. Despite his efforts, authorities denied recognizing his disability and due compensation.
Social issues. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev drew the attention of the FB community to the current economic situation. Hajiyev’s recent FB post reads: One would regret going to any store, restaurant, pharmacy in the evening. In front of these places, there would be someone asking for help to buy food for their child, medicine for their elders, or someone who needs to eat or simply need money to travel back home. Most of them are not beggars, they have lived a normal life for many years, and now they have to ask for help because of the desperate situation they are in. It is impossible to help everyone and hard not to help. When back home, you see how many people have written to ask for help, and many are looking for a job, either for themselves or for their close ones. So many people share photos of their sick child, their bank details asking for help. It is impossible to sleep comfortably at night after telling someone, “I’m sorry, I can’t help”. You shut down the roads when you go somewhere so that you don’t see people, and you don’t notice them. You eat the billions that belong to the millions of children and millions of mothers, and we can’t sleep at night with a guilty conscience feeling disappointed at “the masterpiece” you have created. You have a comfortable sleep, close the roads for hours tomorrow, and go to work without seeing any of these problems. We will wait for you to pass by without any discomfort, and instead of you, we will think about the problems of our people. Good night!
Relations with Iran. Seymur Hezi reports that Iranian courts handed down arrest and flogging sentences to the activists from Azerbaijan Province in Northern Iran. The activists were arrested during the 44-day war of last year for openly demonstrating their sympathy for Azerbaijan. Hezi urges that “the Azerbaijani media must be vocal on this matter…this is not a matter of Niyamaddin Ahmadov to be afraid of Aliyev.”
Azadlig Newspapers informs that Turkey has closed all its border checkpoints for Iranian trucks. The head of the Association for the Development of Trade with Iran in Turkey, Ozcan Alash, told RIA Novosti. According to him, this decision was made in response to the ban on the passage of Turkish trucks to Iran. “Trade between Iran and Turkey has been suspended due to the tense situation on the Iranian-Azerbaijani border,” Ozcan Alash said.
October 12, 2021