Center for National and International Studies
“The hospital refuses to perform the necessary operation, as amputating the legs would automatically qualify veterans as first-degree disabled persons, entitling them to monthly pensions…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms
Ulvi Hasanli, the director of Abzas Media, has been apprehended by Baku city police. Authorities have initiated a search of his apartment in Binagadi district, and the media office associated with AbzasMedia is also being investigated. Hasanli has been unaccounted for since the early hours of Monday, November 20. Despite plans to board a night flight with a suitcase, he did not board the plane, and his phone was switched off, adding to the uncertainty about his whereabouts.
The “AbzasMedia” team suspects that Hasanli‘s arrest is linked to investigations concerning corruption scandals involving President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, stating, “his lawyer has been unable to reach or locate him.” Zibeyda Sadigova, Ulvi Hasanli‘s lawyer, informed Meydan TV that he is presently held at the Baku City Police Department. “I was not informed about the reason for detention. I am on my way there now. I will investigate the reason for his arrest and provide information,” she stated. AbzasMedia is regarded as one of the last independent media outlets in Azerbaijan.
Commenting on Hasanli’s arrest, opposition leader Ali Karimli said that the regime’s recent repression is in line with its antiwest rethoric. Karimli: “The internal policy of the government is fully adapted to its foreign policy. By adopting an anti-Western rhetoric akin to Russia and Belarus, the authorities seek to emulate these nations in increasing the count of political prisoners. Unfortunately, the Belarusization of Azerbaijan carries significant repercussions for the country. This test extends beyond the democratic forces within the nation; it is a collective text for our entire society. If we permit the regime to fully embrace the Belarusian model, we will inevitably bear the collective consequences.”
Chairperson of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) Jamil Hasanli also reacted to the journalist’s arrest, saying that his arrest is related to the investigation of corruption. Hasanli: “Ülvi Hasanli, who revealed the fact of theft, was kidnapped because this country is governed by the rules of thieves. Abzas Media conducted very interesting research on the socio-political life of the country. The video materials prepared by Abzas, especially related to the corrupt practices of the officials, revealed the state of the country. Engaging in the property, banking, and communication sectors while being a high-ranking individual and posing a threat to the state security is not only detrimental to the state but also reflects a deeply shameful act.”
Activist and independent journalist Jalil Zabidov was taken to the police unit in Yardimli with his young son, brother and nephew. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has not issued any statements on the matter. While the specifics of their apprehension remain unknown, it is believed that it is due to his critical writings.
The plea for assistance and critique of relevant institutions by Hasan Mehdiyev, a participant in the Second Karabakh War and a veteran, has sparked extensive discussions and government criticism on social media. Hasan Mehdiyev, who had both legs amputated up to the knees, revealed that one of his legs is deteriorating, necessitating further amputation above the knee. He intends to undergo surgery with Israeli doctors but requires 23,000 manats for the operation. Seeking public support, he made his appeal public. After the plea gained attention, Sahil Babayev, the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, personally contacted Hasan Mehdiyev. Mehdiyev recounted the conversation, stating that the minister offered assistance on the condition that he removes his video request from social media. In response, Mehdiyev asserted that he is not going to delete the video, expressing the minister’s previous disregard for his appeals.
Galib Toghrul, the brother of jailed professor Gubad Ibadoglu, has revealed on his Facebook page that Ibadoghlu‘s medical records are being falsified. According to Toghrul’s post, the paramedic from the Medical Sanitary Department of the Baku Pretrial Detention Center daily measures his brother’s blood pressure in his cell. The recorded sugar levels are consistently 2.5-3 times higher than normal. Upon examining the latest documents submitted by authorities to the European Court of Human Rights, it was discovered that all the daily indicators for sugar levels had been falsified and documented as within the normal range. Consequently, Ibadoghlu requested the paramedic not to return to the cell and declared that he would not provide any sugar-related indicators starting the next week. The paramedic claimed innocence, stating that he reported the numbers as they were and was unaware of any manipulation of the given values. It is noteworthy that, for the past four weeks, the Ministry of Justice has not responded positively to Ibadoghlu‘s request for examination by an endocrinologist and a neuropathologist (neurologist). Due to worsening pain in his back and legs, he can only sleep for 2-3 hours at night.
Governance and Corruption
Political commentator Arastun Orujlu has exposed a disheartening corruption case unfolding within military medical units. Numerous veterans are grappling with severely impaired legs, causing immense suffering that could be alleviated through amputation. Despite several doctors concurring that amputation, followed by prosthetic replacement, would significantly enhance the veterans’ quality of life, the military hospital has forbidden such procedures. Instead, they subject the veterans to surgeries every 3-4 months, even though it’s known to be futile. While professional advice advocates amputation, the hospital persists in financially lucrative but ineffective operations, draining thousands of manats from the Yaşat fund each time. The hospital’s management appears to prioritize repeated surgeries over addressing the root problem by amputating the veterans’ non-healing limbs. Some veterans undergo up to 20 operations, leading some to contemplate suicide. The veterans plead for amputation, preferring to walk with a prosthesis, a sentiment echoed by professional doctors. However, the hospital refuses to perform the necessary operation, as amputating the legs would automatically qualify veterans as first-degree disabled persons, entitling them to monthly pensions. Additionally, the repeated surgeries provide a pretext for medical staff to request more funds from the Yasat fund, designed to support veterans.
November 21, 2023