Center for National and International Studies
“The statements made by Aliyev serve as evidence that he is the mastermind behind the alleged assassination plans targeting activists abroad…”
(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms
As reported by Azadlig newspaper, the family of Agil Hummetov, a member of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party currently incarcerated, has been unable to establish contact with him. Aygün Hummatova, his wife, expressed her concern over his prolonged silence, speculating that Agil might have been placed in a disciplinary unit. Agil Hummetov is serving his sentence at Penal Institution No. 2 under the supervision of the Penitentiary Service. Since Nemat Karimli, his previous lawyer during the investigation and trial, no longer has an active contract, the Party is making arrangements to engage another lawyer to represent Hummetov.
Reports have emerged stating that Maharram Akbarov, a student at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University (ODTU), was apprehended from his residence in Khirdalan. Friends and relatives of Akbarov have shared this information on social media platforms. Ahmet Mammadli, the Chairman of the D18 Movement, confirmed the news to Meydan TV and stated that he is in contact with Akbarov’s family and the political party to which he belongs. Maharram Akbarov is a member of the “Voice of the Revolution” platform within the Socialist Workers’ Party in Turkey. According to reports, Akbarov was taken into custody by plainclothes officers from the Baku City Police Department, yet no information has been provided to his family regarding the reason for his detention. Friends of Akbarov assert that his arrest is politically motivated and demand his immediate release. Ibrahim Amraslanli from the Press Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed to Meydan TV that Maharram Akbarov has indeed been detained and stated that an ongoing investigation is underway.
Huseyn Malik, a board member of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP), has been subjected to another administrative arrest, this time lasting for a period of 20 days. Huseyn Malik is known for his uncompromising stance and consistent criticism of the Aliyev regime, which frequently results in him being targeted and defamed by the regime.
According to Azadliq newspaper, the police have detained Ramid Nagiyev, the Chairman of the Binagadi district branch of the APFP (Azerbaijan Popular Front Party), along with another member from the same branch. Currently, they are being held at the 6th police department of Binagadi District Police Department. Unfortunately, no further information has been provided regarding the circumstances of their detention.
It is reported that a veteran of the Second Karabakh War Nabi Azad oghlu Mammadov, a resident of Mormor village of Gadabay district, attempted to take his own life by setting himself on fire. Meydan TV reached out to Nabi Mammadov directly, and he confirmed that he indeed set himself on fire on the evening of July 13. He stated that various parts of his body suffered burns, yet he feels ignored by the authorities. Nabi Mammadov attributed his suicide attempt to the lack of employment opportunities and the perceived indifference from state authorities. He expressed his desire to work and repeatedly expressed his intention to visit the office of the head of the Gadabay District Executive Power seeking assistance.
According to information provided by his relatives to Meydan TV, Jeyhun Balashov, a member of the Muslim Union Movement who is currently imprisoned, has allegedly been subjected to torture. Jeyhun Balashov, a resident of Beylagan, has been held in custody since February 2 and is reportedly tortured at the Baku Pre-trial Detention Center located in Kurdakhani settlement, as per his family’s claims. Unfortunately, the Penitentiary Service did not address the complaint filed by Jeyhun Balashov’s family regarding the alleged torture. While Jeyhun Balashov is accused of acquiring and possessing narcotics, both he and his relatives deny these accusations. In February of this year, Jeyhun Arif oghlu Balashov was abducted from his workplace and charged under Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Following the investigation period, his trial was scheduled to take place at the Lankaran Serious Crimes Court in an online format. However, due to the lack of suitable technical facilities at the Shuvelan prison, where he was initially detained, he was transferred to the Kurdakhani prison. The reported incident of torture occurred at the Kurdakhani facility.
Tural Sadigli, an activist living in exile, has claimed that he has received death threats from the Aliyev regime and holds President Aliyev accountable for any harm that befalls him. Sadigli’s Facebook post: “Speaking about the Gadabey events, Ilham Aliyev said, referring to us, ‘those who want to create chaos in Azerbaijan are hiding abroad. Let them not think that we have forgotten them. If necessary, we will punish them, and they will regret it.’I perceive these statements as a direct threat from the President of Azerbaijan directed towards me personally.”
Sadigli expressed his concerns, stating that President Aliyev’s speech implicates him as the mastermind behind the assassination plots. Sadigli also mentioned a video speech by Alovsat Ibrahimov, a former driver of MP Adil Aliyev, who allegedly reported to European law enforcement agencies that he had received a $100,000 offer to assassinate Tural Sadigli. The activist emphasized that both these statements and the knowledge of European authorities indicate the gravity of the situation. Sadigli and a few others are living covert lives in Europe due to multiple assassination attempts, as they are perceived as targets by the Azerbaijani authorities. He further explained, “They informed him that ‘Mr. President, we are pursuing them abroad, but they are in hiding. As soon as we locate them, we will punish them.'” Sadigli interprets Aliyev’s use of such language as an indication of physical harm and even potential killing. Therefore, Sadigli holds President Ilham Aliyev responsible if any harm comes to him personally. “The revolution will definitely happen one day. That is exactly why we are on target. We are in hiding from the Azerbaijani authorities due to the imminent threat we face. The statements made by Aliyev serve as evidence that he is the mastermind behind the alleged assassination plans targeting us. It seems that reports were submitted to him, stating, “Mr. President, we are actively pursuing them overseas, but they have gone into hiding. Once we locate them, we will take punitive action.” It is for this reason that Ilham Aliyev used such menacing language in his speech. He is unable to apprehend us, and by “punish,” he implies physical harm and even death. Hence, if any harm befalls me personally, Ilham Aliyev would bear responsibility as the instigator.”
Despite the alleged assurance of a fair consideration of Alizamin Salayev‘s appeal, the Appellate Court disregarded his illegal arrest and instead upheld the imposed 4-year prison sentence. This decision came after Salayev’s 115-day hunger strike, during which he was purportedly promised a just evaluation of his appeal.
On July 14, the Military Prosecutor’s Office announced the initiation of a criminal case under Article 125 of the Criminal Code regarding the death of Nuraddin Huseynov, a soldier serving in a military unit of the Ministry of Defense. The Ganja Military Prosecutor’s Office received information about the incident and promptly dispatched personnel from the Criminalistics and Information Technologies Department to examine the scene and the body. The prosecutor’s office confirmed the collection of pertinent items as material evidence and carried out necessary investigative measures, including the interrogation of witnesses and the appointment of relevant experts. The statement released by the Military Prosecutor’s Office does not specify the region from which the soldier originated. It is reported that Nurettin Huseynov, born in 2004, tragically took his own life by jumping from the dormitory building in Military Unit “N” located in Ganja. The motive behind the soldier’s suicide remains unknown at this time.
Governance and Corruption
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement urging Azerbaijan to open the road in the Lachin corridor. The statement emphasizes that the forthcoming peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia should include provisions safeguarding the rights and security of Armenians residing in Karabakh. Fuad Gahramanli, a member of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, commented on the statement, alleging that the Kremlin will employ all available means to impede peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Gahramanli: “In the statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the special emphasis on the statement that Armenian rights and freedoms should be reflected in the peace agreement means that Moscow does not consider the Karabakh problem an internal matter of Azerbaijan but rather as one that must be resolved on the basis of negotiations with Armenia. This statement confirms that yesterday’s demonstration in Khankendi was orchestrated under Russian orders. Because yesterday’s rally aimed to demonstrate that Karabakh Armenians are unwilling to accept Azerbaijan’s sovereignty prior to the upcoming negotiations between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Through these actions, Russia is seeking to disrupt the peace talks and exert pressure on Pashinyan against recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
July 18, 2023