Center for National and International Studies
“With the new law on Political Parties, the regime aims to neutralize its opponents, and its main target is the Popular Front Party…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Member of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) and Musavat Party, Tofig Yagublu, who has been on a hunger strike since January 5, was hospitalized due to declining health. Yagublu’s daughter Nigar Hazi told Meydan TV that her father continues hunger strike at the hospital. Meanwhile, Tofig Yagublu‘s wife, Maya Yagublu’s health condition worsened. Maya Yagublu started a hunger strike in support of her husband despite her poor health.
The US State Department representative criticized recent human rights violations in Azerbaijan, calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release Tofig Yagublu and Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. “We are deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev and Tofig Yagublu,” State Department representative Ned Price said in response to Turan’s question. Price said the United States remains committed to promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Yagublu and Hajiyev are on hunger strike in prison to protest against their illegal arrest and poor detention conditions.
Chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli said that “the persecution and the arrest of Tofig Yagublu is illegal”. Hasanli’s Facebook post: “At the top of these illegal activities stays Ilham Aliyev, who destroyed the judicial system of the country. Tofig Yagublu is Ilham Aliyev‘s prisoner, and the police, investigator, prosecutor, judge, and the penitentiary system itself is Ilham Aliyev.”
Ganja Military Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the information that Vusal Mammadov, a soldier of the military unit of the Ministry of Defense, shot himself. It is reported that the soldier killed himself by firing a firearm. “An investigation is being conducted at the Ganja Military Prosecutor’s Office, and all measures will be taken in accordance with the requirements of the legislation,” said the prosecutor’s office. However, no information was provided on why Mammadov committed suicide.
Azadliq newspaper reports that teacher Leyla Najafguliyeva who works at a secondary school in a village in the Imishli region was reprimanded by the head of the school. Najafguliyeva’s video went viral on social media in which she raised the issue of the lack of toilets in the school. While social media users expressed their support for the teacher, the representative of the Ministry of Education said that she was reprimanded for missing the classes, not for her social media post, and the conditions in the school will be improved.
Commenting on the teacher’s post, exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli criticized the minister of education and said that the regime is responsible for the miserable conditions at the schools in rural areas. “The problem is not with the school personnel, but with the regime. In the case of teacher Leyla, we once again witnessed that Aliyev’s regime is useless. Regardless of where the minister, director, or head of department received his education, they work according to the conditions of the regime. In the Aliyev regime, a teacher who voices the problems should be punished. There is no other way. The minister who received his degree in the US also acts according to the regime’s requirements. A person who studied abroad and adopted the values of the country he studied in should not disrespect himself by being a slave to Ilham Aliyev. Graduates of the world’s well-known, advanced science centers should not be the tools of a dictator, a thief, or a thug.”
On his way from Turkey, where he had meetings with party members, the deputy chairperson of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), Seymur Hazi, was not allowed to enter Georgia. According to the chairperson of the Party Ali Karimli, Georgian border control officials did not explain why they did not let Hezi into the country. Karimli said that the reason is Hezi’s political activities and the Georgian authorities acted in accordance with the Azerbaijani authorities.
Governance and Corruption
In his rare interview with the local media as a response to ITV’s question, president Ilham Aliyev said that inflation in Azerbaijan is “imported inflation”. Aliyev: “Because we, of course, are a part of the world economy, we import many goods, and we are working in this direction so that local production will replace imported goods. However, it is normal that we are dependent on imports. Therefore, if it is possible to say so, inflation was imported to Azerbaijan. According to the statistics of last year, inflation was 13.9 percent. That is to say, our means to fight this imported inflation are quite limited.” Commenting on the president’s interview, the chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that the current inflation is the result of the government’s failure and is the direct responsibility of the president. Ibadoghlu’s Facebook post: “This is an official acknowledgment of the lack of national economy, local production. This is to avoid the responsibility for high inflation in the consumer market. This confirms the dependence of the economy on external shocks and demonstrates the impotence by saying that “our capabilities are quite limited.” This is an indicator of the incompetence of the team responsible for the economy, which has not been able to build a local economy that replaces imports even at the minimum level for the last 20 years, the lack of diversification of the national economy, and the lack of trade liberalization. This is proof that the economic path of the last twenty years is wrong, and it is a prediction that the future of Azerbaijan’s economy is in trouble.”
Meanwhile, despite all the criticism from both local and international experts, Ilham Aliyev approved the new “law on Political Parties”. According to critics, the new law creates grounds to prevent the opponents of the government from forming political parties.
Director of Baku Research Institute (BRI) Altay Goyushov said that the intention of the government is not to pass the laws that work but to create a false image of itself. “They pass such laws in the country that it is impossible to implement them. In other words, the fact that people live by the law and obey the law would not benefit the system. A person accustomed to an effective system based on law cannot be ruled by illegal means. You always say our people don’t respect the ques and standing in line. This system does not want people to stand in line. Because the system knows that if they get used to justice by standing in line today, tomorrow they would demand it in other places as well.”
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli argued that with the new law, the government aims to neutralize its opponents, and its main target is his Party. “The regime has mobilized all its resources against the PFP. It has been 17 years that they have not allowed me to travel abroad, and by doing so, they try to hinder our actions to create relations abroad. This new reactionary law on Political Parties was passed to further hinder the activities of the PFP. Our society should not remain spectators to the regime’s attempts to destroy the real opposition in the country and to create a one-party system. I call on all our compatriots who want to fight against the regime to become members of the PFP, which is the front line of the struggle against it. You can join us and strengthen the fight for justice and against the regime by filling out the online form for the PFP membership. As a nation, we have no right to be defeated by the claims and greediness of a bunch of corrupt people.”
January 13, 2023