Center for National and International Studies
“I personally handed over 20 million manats to Najmaddin Sadigov. I was only carrying out the orders I had been given…”
(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms
The State Department, along with senators, has issued an appeal for the prompt release of Gubad Ibadoglu. Responding to inquiries from Turan during a routine press briefing, Matthew Miller, a representative from the State Department, reiterated their ongoing concern regarding Ibadoglu‘s arrest and detention, emphasizing their urgent request for his immediate release.
Furthermore, the State Department recently expressed apprehension regarding Ibadoglu‘s health, given his severe illness, and urged Azerbaijan to safeguard his rights and fundamental freedoms. Additionally, several U.S. senators have joined in urging the Azerbaijani government to release Ibadoglu on humanitarian grounds.
Meanwhile, Allahverdi Babayev, an APFP member, faced a 30-day administrative detention sentence due to his participation in an interview with an internet television channel covering Gubad Ibadoghlu‘s trial.
In a parallel development, not only was a member of the APFP Gazakh branch apprehended, but his son also found himself in detention. Following the arrest of Fazail Aliyev, an APFP member, law enforcement authorities also detained his son, Farid Aliyev. The police forcibly entered Farid Aliyev’s residence and, using excessive force transported him to the police station.
Aykhan Israfilov, a political detainee, expresses deep dissatisfaction with the conditions prevailing in the Shuvelan detention center. He highlights that despite the cell being designed for ten individuals, it currently houses 22 people. These overcrowded conditions are exacerbating Aykhan’s health issues, significantly deteriorating his well-being.
Meanwhile, Alakbarov Eshkin Sabir oglu, a resident of Nağılar-Karimli village in the Gadabey district, has reported a distressing incident. He claims that while standing in a water queue approximately 5-6 kilometers from the village, he was subjected to harassment by two individuals, an experience that left him fearing for his life.
Khasmammadov Taleh Vidadi oglu, a prominent human rights advocate who has endured two previous incarcerations as a political prisoner, was apprehended by the Goychay District Police on September 17, 2023. The grounds for his detention stem from an incident in which Khasmammadov allegedly assaulted two individuals. One of the victims is from Baku, while the other resides in the Ismayilli district. It’s important to note that neither of these victims had prior altercations with Taleh. Taleh’s mother said that those who know him well can attest to this fact, dispelling any notion of a preexisting feud. Many suspect that this incident might have been a contrived setup, rather than a spontaneous occurrence, and view it as a new scenario orchestrated by the police. Adding to the complexity of the situation, the Khasmammadov family has been subjected to malicious insults from unidentified individuals using fake profiles for the past four months. Despite repeated appeals to the 102 service, relevant authorities, and the Goychay district prosecutor’s office, no assistance or investigation has been initiated. In light of these circumstances, Khasmammadov publicly expressed on social media his suspicion of the Goychay police’s involvement in these matters, implicating certain officers in the ongoing harassment campaign. It’s important to emphasize that Khasmammadov’s current imprisonment is seemingly connected to his social media posts, a fact that raises concerns about the nature of the charges, which some view as frivolous. Khasmammadpv’s mother said that labeling him as a mere hooligan is a gross oversimplification of his character and actions. Throughout his career, he has never opposed the state or its institutions. Instead, he has tirelessly championed the rights of ordinary citizens, all without seeking personal gain.
Rufat Khanahmed oghlu Agayev, a military serviceman of the Azerbaijan Army, met his untimely end. Heartbreakingly, relatives had been counting down the days until Rufat Agayev would complete his military service, as he was just one month away from his scheduled release. The Ministry of Defense reported that Rufat Agayev’s demise resulted from a severe breach of weapon safety protocols. This devastating incident unfolded during the early hours of September 15, around 4 a.m., as recounted by family members. Rufat Agayev, hailing from Imishli, was laid to rest in his hometown of Bina. Grief-stricken relatives shared their concerns with Meydan TV, questioning the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. They disclosed that Rufat had been stationed in Kalbajar and alleged that the incident transpired when Armenians launched an attack on their trench during the night, resulting in fatalities. Officials, however, present a different narrative. The perplexing question remains: What were they doing with a firearm at 4 o’clock in the morning? This mystery begs for clarification.
Governance and Corruption
The trial of high-ranking Ministry of Defense officials, who were arrested in connection with a criminal case involving the misappropriation of 92 million manats allocated for the military, has commenced. While they are being tried individually, they all face collective accusations. Simultaneously, they stand accused of embezzling tens of millions of manats under the guidance of former Chief of General Staff Najmeddin Sadikov. On September 15, one of the detainees, Colonel Malikmammad Gurbanov, former head of the Procurement and Supply Department at the Ministry of Defense, confessed during his court appearance that he had delivered approximately 20 million manats, acquired through inflated prices, to Chief of Staff Najmeddin Sadikov.
Malikmammad Gurbanov’s case is being heard at the Baku Military Court, presided over by Judge Rafig Abbasov. On September 15, the prosecutor presented the charges to the court. According to the indictment, between 2015 and 2019, during Malikmammad Gurbanov’s tenure, budgetary funds were allocated for procuring quality goods for the Armed Forces. However, these funds were not utilized as intended, and prices were artificially inflated. Allegedly, these funds were directed to pre-arranged company accounts, following the instructions of the then Chief of General Staff Najmeddin Sadikov. The contract signed with these companies involved inflating the value of the purchased goods.
The criminal case materials claim that Malikmammad Gurbanov personally misappropriated 542,438 manats over the course of four years. He has been charged under Article 179.4 of the Criminal Code (aggravated embezzlement), which carries a penalty of 10 to 14 years’ imprisonment. In response to the prosecutor’s allegations, Colonel Gurbanov partially admitted guilt, asserting that he executed the orders he received. He emphasized that he had fully compensated for the damages related to the embezzlement charge in the case.
The accused colonel revealed that, on the orders of Najmeddin Sadikov, he transferred funds to company accounts and was involved in this operation. However, he clarified that this was not a unilateral act. He noted that 15 percent of the funds transferred to these company accounts were returned as per a prior arrangement. He collected the funds and handed the entirety of the 20 million manats to Najmeddin Sadikov within a span of four years. The Chief of the General Staff determined the allocation of these funds. The trial of Malikmammad Gurbanov is ongoing.
September 19, 2023