Center for National and International Studies
“The system is not working, and the public does not question immorality…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Anar Huseynov, who was administratively arrested for 20 days during a protest against water shortage in Saatli district on March 13, says that he is persecuted. He told Turan TV that he was summoned to the Saatli District Police Department after meeting activist Elvin Mustafayev (Atilla Khan), who was released from administrative detention. “When I was in front of the department to meet Elvin, the police approached me, and they took me to the office. There I had to wait for more than three hours. I received threats, and they said that I caused them a problem and they would arrest me.” Huseynov said that since he was released from prison, he has been chased and under surveillance. “They told me they know who I met and where I go. They said they could arrest me without any reason because I am creating a problem for the police.”
Members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) who protested in front of the Ministry of Justice were detained. Among the protestors, Ceyhun Novruzov, the chairman of the Sabail branch of the APFP, was arrested for 30 days, and Sahladar Isganderli, the chairman of the youth committee of the Surakhani branch of the Party was administratively arrested for 25 days. Mazahir Rahimov, a member of the APFP’s Supreme Assembly from Agdash district, was detained by the district police. Gorkhmaz Abdurrahimov, chairman of the APFP Agdash district branch, went to the police station to find out about Rahimov, and was detained in the police station. Rahimov was administratively arrested for ten days, and Abdurrahimov was fined 100 manats. Mehman Karimli, chairman of the Assembly of the Yevlakh branch of the APFP, and Rashad Guliyev, the Chairman of the Youth Committee of the APFP Ganja branch, were summoned to the police. Another member of the Party, Jomard Gayan, was called to the State Security Service for interrogation.
Azadliq newspaper reports that veteran of the Second Karabakh War Seyyad Guliyev cannot find a job. “I received a job offer (at a construction site), and I went today to see if I could do it. A few hours after the start of work, my leg began to swell again due to a health problem (varicose in the legs). I have this problem since I completed military service. I can’t walk much due to this health issue. The state doesn’t provide me with the treatment, nor does the employment agency I’ve been applying to for six months give me the equipment to start my own business within the framework of the self-employment program. It’s challenging and disappointing that at this young age, I am not able to do any physical work.”
Tarlan Seyidov, a member of the Muslim Union Movement, was detained while driving his family home. Seyidov was approached by the police and was moved from his vehicle by force in front of his underage children. His wife managed to record his detention on video. Seyidov was later released without any criminal charges. Hundreds of religious activists and believers have been detained in Azerbaijan in recent days. In the pro-government media, these arrests are covered as the exposure of “Iran’s spy network in Azerbaijan. However, the Muslim Union Movement denied the accusations and said that the majority of those detained are charged with illegal drug trafficking.
Activist Ilkin Rustamzade said that his visa application for the USA was not considered on the grounds that he found baseless. According to the activist, at the embassy, he was told that his visa was denied due to his past as a political prisoner. Rustamzade: “Today I was humiliated at the US embassy. The US consul told me, “You are a human rights activist, and you have been in prison, and that’s why you are not granted a visa.” I said that I was acquitted of all charges by the European Court, and the government paid me compensation for the illegal arrest. I asked if it was a crime to be a human rights activist. He didn’t answer. I said you are betraying the values that America has proclaimed in the world, he replied that “You have been married to your ex-wife for a short time, which raises suspicions.” The US consul offended my dignity today. He told the person whom the US ambassador invited to his house for dinner that you are a criminal.
I have not let anyone take away my rights in this country, nor will I let the US consul. I will fight until the end!”
Governance and Corruption
In the latest statement of the Ministry of Defense, it is stated that the soldier of the Azerbaijan Army Zalov Vidadi Nizami oglu, Hasanov Elshad Gabil oglu and Tagiyev Sabuhi Gunduz oglu were martyred while preventing the provocation of the Armenian side. Information about the injured servicemen has not been released.
Chairperson of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that the recent tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border are the result of Russian provocation. Ibadoglu: “Again, the expected provocation of the Russians took place. This time the ceasefire was broken in the Teg village of Sunik on the border with Lachin region. Although it was reported that there were losses from both sides, Armenian sources confirmed that three people were killed by them. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, in its statement on the incident, called on the public to be cautious and refer only to official information. How long should we be patient? How long are soldiers will we be martyred? I believe that the fact that the provocation was not in Karabakh but on the border is preparation for bringing the Russian troops to the territory as an alternative to the mission of the European Union in the territory of Armenia, a response to the visit of the European command of the United States to Yerevan. It serves to postpone the planned settlement in Lachin and the peace agreement.”
MP Tahir Karimli said in Parliament, Milli Majlis, that specific pharmacies should be opened for the poor. “In Azerbaijan, only 10 percent of the population are rich, 15-20 percent middle class, and the rest are poor. In normal countries, the middle-class amount to at least 60 percent of the whole population. There should be pharmacies for the poor so that they can buy medicine there at a low price.” Contrary to what MP said, President Ilham Aliyev often says in his speeches that there is no poverty in Azerbaijan.
Activist Ilkin Rustamzade commented on the current clashes on the border and illegal arrests, saying that the Azerbaijani public is responsible for the current situation by staying silent against the injustice. Rustamzade: “As a society, our morals are corrupt. It is not enough to say that it has been corrupted, it has almost disappeared. The system is not working, and the public does not question immorality. The morality of the Azerbaijani people today is the same as that of the German people, who knew it and remained silent when their neighbors were taken away and killed just because they were Jews in the 1930s. It only takes a major catastrophe to change our current situation. Either we have to be crushed like Germany in some war, or we have to be hit by an atomic bomb like Japan. It is too late to change the morals of this society by preaching, speaking, or writing.”
April 14, 2023