Center for National and International Studies
“The effectiveness and independence of the Azerbaijani opposition can only be realized through emigration or in coordination with those in exile…”
(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms
On September 15, the Baku Court of Appeal will review the petition submitted by the legal representatives of jailed professor Gubad Ibadoglu. Meanwhile, the European Parliament conducted hearings regarding Ibadoglu, during which EP deputies addressed his unjust arrest on fabricated charges, as well as the broader issue of human rights violations and political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The participating deputies called for Ibadoglu‘s immediate release and urged sanctions against Azerbaijani government officials responsible for human rights violations. Subsequently, the European Parliament released a resolution on the matter, emphasizing the imperative nature of Ibadoghlu’s immediate release as a central demand directed at the Azerbaijani government. Both Sir Julian Lewis and Jeremy Corbyn from the British Parliament have also advocated for the release of Professor Ibadoglu.
Vugar Aliyev, an activist and member of the APFP’s Lankaran branch, has been taken into custody. His arrest stems from his consistent efforts to draw attention to environmental damage caused by an illicitly operating sand-gravel quarry located in the riverbed in Tangivan village and the “Lebro broiler” poultry complex, allegedly linked to MP Igbal Mammadov.
Hasan Abbaszade, another member of the Muslim Union Movement, has been apprehended. According to information provided by the movement to Meydan TV, on September 11 at approximately 8 pm, Hasan Abbaszade was seized by individuals in civilian clothing in Binagadi district’s Rasulzade settlement. Unfortunately, no information regarding his detention or whereabouts has been shared with his family members. Considering the recent wave of mass arrests of religious believers, including members of the Muslim Union Movement, on drug-related allegations, Hasan Abbaszade recorded a video message before returning to Azerbaijan from Moscow. In the video, he emphasized that if he were to be arrested on drug charges or any other accusations, everyone should be assured that it is a false accusation.
Ganimat Zahid, the journalist in exile and host of the YouTube channel “Azerbaijan Hour,” has expressed concerns about his safety. In a Facebook post, the journalist conveyed that he had received information from a trustworthy source in Baku indicating that President Ilham Aliyev had issued specific instructions to minister Vilayat Eyvazov, with the intent of taking punitive measures against him and another activist, Emin Ahmadbayov, who also resides in France. Zahid’s Facebook post: This is a report from Baku I received this morning. The source is quite reliable, the news is quite accurate. Ilham Aliyev gave special instructions to Vilayat Eyvazov to find people to punish Ganimat Zahid and Emin Ahmadbayov in France. Vilayat Eyvazov told his close circle that this order came from Ilham Aliyev and gave appropriate instructions. His instruction is that the people who would execute the punishment should not be Azerbaijanis, but from another community. Money is not a problem. I had to give detailed written information to the French Ministry of the Interior and the Strasbourg police that the Minister of Internal Affairs Vilayat Eyvazov had initiated measures to prepare such a criminal act on the personal instructions of Aliyev. At least, hopefully, another heinous act of a mafia, which smears the name of the Azerbaijani state with dirt, will be prevented. I warn you once again with this post that All responsibility for the implementation of this decision is yours from the beginning.”
In 2021, three activists living abroad – Bayram Mammadov in Turkey, Vugar Rza in Belgium, Huseyn Bakikhanov in Georgia were murdered.
The D18 Movement, originally founded to combat human rights abuses and champion democratic ideals, has decided to discontinue its operations. This decision has been attributed to the prevailing view that engaging in political activities in Azerbaijan has become unfeasible. Numerous independent journalists and legal professionals contend that, in Azerbaijan, it is exceedingly challenging for any organization to conduct autonomous political initiatives beyond those officially sanctioned. The activist in exile, Tural Sadigli has remarked that, consequently, the effectiveness and independence of the Azerbaijani opposition can only be realized through emigration or in coordination with those in exile. According to him, those who do not acknowledge this reality and fail to pursue collaborative efforts between emigration and domestic opposition are seen as political entities aligning with the government’s stance, a stance that he and public firmly disapprove of.
Governance and Corruption
During the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, President Putin made a statement that sparked controversy. He mentioned that in the past, he had proposed an agreement in which the Kalbajar and Lachin regions of Azerbaijan, along with the entirety of Karabakh, would remain under Armenia’s jurisdiction. However, Armenia declined this proposal, and as a result of the second war in Karabakh, Armenia ultimately lost control over the entire Karabakh region.
Putin also noted that by recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and relinquishing Karabakh to the Azerbaijani side, they inadvertently complicated the situation. Many opposition figures in Azerbaijan argue that this statement suggests that Putin is not interested in fostering peace in the region, and continuity of the conflict between the two Caucasian countries serves the Kremlin’s interests.
Moreover, Russia has expressed its disapproval of Azerbaijan’s stance on Ukraine. Moscow officially denounced Baku in response to the statement made by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding elections conducted in the territories of Ukraine that are under Russian occupation. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made this announcement during a briefing held on September 13.
On September 9, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that the recent “elections” held in a portion of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territories had no legal validity. Zakharova emphasized that such assessments were deemed unacceptable, stating, “such evaluations are not in line with the high level of allied relations between our nations… Baku should approach the matter of our country’s territorial integrity with the same respect that we expect for our own territorial integrity. We are addressing the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan here.”
September 15, 2023