Center for National and International Studies
“We want to live in a free, just society, not in a society where the people are seen as subjects, slaves, and a few are masters, but a society in which everyone is equal before the law, the rights and welfare of citizens are guaranteed, and we have no choice but to achieve this.”
Governance, economy, corruption.
Ali Karimli of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party reminded the FB community of the rally that was violently cracked by the police two years ago when Karimli himself was also subjected to violent attacks by the police. Referring to the police brutality, Karimli wrote: “Unfortunately, the fight is still going on. Exactly two years have passed since that day. We overcame all obstacles and took to the streets. The authorities closed the roads in the city center, even the subway and the internet were shut down out of fear. However, thousands of brave protesters flooded the streets. More than 600 activists were arrested, hundreds of protesters were beaten, and dozens were severely tortured. When I made the speech, 40-50 people, including Tofig Yagublu, who had come with me to the square, had already been arrested. Niyamaddin Bey, who was standing next to me, managed to avoid confrontation with police twice. At that time, if we could show a collective strong will on a national level, the country would change a lot.”
Gubad Ibadoghlu, chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Welfare Party, touched upon the ongoing reconstruction projects in the liberated territories of Karabakh. Ibadoghlu wrote: “None of the three international airports, each costing hundreds of millions of manats, will ever be able to operate profitably in the liberated territories of Karabakh. The cost of such expensive buildings and their maintenance will become a constant burden and additional cost for the state budget. Therefore, I protest against these meaningless mega-projects (white elephants) financed by oil money and demand the disclosure of information about the costs of their construction, the companies involved in construction, and how they are selected. Otherwise, all these huge projects will serve to plunder the budget and contribute to corruption, and soon we will hear news about the stolen money from offshore zones.”
Human Rights and Liberties. Political activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev thanked the FB community and everyone who expressed their support recently after Hajiyev attempted suicide and was detained by the police. Hajiyev wrote: I have been receiving a lot of messages of support, kind words for the last three days. The country’s most prominent intellectuals, politicians, heads of organizations, journalists, celebrities, diplomats, international organizations, and people I have never met have sent messages of support. It is a great feeling to see and hear it, it is a huge moral support, and I thank you very much for that. Until the legal, systematic, socio-economic and political problems that have caused our people so much trouble are solved, we will continue to fight in all possible ways, both legally and politically, and in all other ways that will not harm or insult anyone.” Hajiyev also added that “there is emotional terror campaign against him that has been going on for months orchestrated by the police, the State Security Service and the judiciary”. According to Hajiyev, if the law enforcement agencies do not conduct an investigation on his complaints he will “repeat the same.” Bakhtiyar Hajiyev addressed to his FB followers: We want to live in a free, just society in which the people are not seen as subjects, slaves, and a few are masters, but everyone is equal before the law, the rights and welfare of citizens are guaranteed, and we have no choice but to achieve this.
Azadlig Newspaper reports that meykhana singer Javid Babashov was arrested on drug charges. Babashov’s brother Telman Babashov said that the criminal case against his brother was fabricated. Ali Karimli of PFP reacted to the arrest of the singer, arguing that the only reason behind his arrest was the lyrics of his song. Karimli wrote: They could not stand the verses about Rasulzade. Javid Babashov (Sumgayitli) was arrested in May. It is now known that he was charged with drug trafficking. I personally think that the real reason for the arrest was Javid Bey’s love of Rasulzade and courageous criticism. We must not forget that dozens of public and political activists in the country have been arrested on false drug charges. I call on the media, human rights activists, and the public to pay attention to Javid Bey’s trial.
Azadlig also informed journalist Dilara Miriyeva (Gazanfargizi), a member of the Popular Front Party (APFP), who is engaged in journalistic activities, was subjected to police brutality yesterday. Miriyeva wrote on her FB post that yesterday at about 13:00, she left home to cover an event near the metro station January 20, and while waiting at the bus stop, a man in civilian clothes called her by name, said, he would ask a word and pulled her aside. At that time, a civilian car stopped next to them, and the driver and the man forced Miriyeva into the car. It turned out that he was a police officer who approached Miriyeva. They did not say which department they belonged to. They drove the car in different directions of the city and finally dropped Miriyeva in the territory of Turkan settlement.
Meydan TV reports that feminist activist Gulnara Mehdiyeva held a one-person protest in front of the Presidential Administration. The activist raised slogans such as “Why is the one who raped a minor free?” and “Arrest Asgar Agazade.” Police intervened and detained the protester. Gulnara Mehdiyeva, who was taken to the 9th Police Station of the Sabail Police Department, has been released.
Meydan TV reports that Asgar Agazadeh, who allegedly sexually assaulted the daughter of writer Zumrud Yagmur, was detained on October 19 as a suspect. Zumrud Yagmur told Meydan TV that the Prosecutor General’s Office finally took the case into consideration, and today, the suspect in the criminal case, Asgar Agazade, was detained. Yaghmur added: “I could not believe it had happened. Because I have been waiting for one year and two months, now I am in shock. I hope that the process will continue as it is now. The criminal will be punished, and the lawlessness that has prevailed so far will disappear. That is all we want. “
Journalist in exile Afgan Mukhtarli reacted to government’s crackdown on religious people. Mukhtarli argued that Heydar and Ilham Aliyev always used a “religious card” when they were under international pressure. Mukhtarli wrote: This time, Ilham Aliyev blamed Iran, and now he is on the hunt for religious people. There are reports that theologians Sheikh Sardar, Jalal Aliyev, and Gadir Mammadov were detained after Haji Ilgar. I have known Haji Ilgar for many years. It was unfair to label Haji Ilgar a spy. Is Aliyev fighting Iran? I do not think so. It is impossible for him to get into trouble with Iran. Ilham is afraid of the strong. It is a game with Europe, and Europeans needed these games too. On the one hand, they buy gas and oil. On the other hand, they make a living by taking bribes from the Aliyevs. Everyone who was unjustly and falsely arrested is a political prisoner.” Haji Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, a theologian and chairman of the DEVAMM public organization, was detained by the security services of the ministry of internal affairs.
Journalist Seymur Hezi also commented on the recent arrests: Every time the government attacks a group of people in the name of “agents”, it shakes the foundations of the state. If there are agency networks in Azerbaijan, the largest of them belongs to Russia. But they haven’t caught anyone from those groups yet … Iran, of course, has a network of agents! It is unacceptable to arrest clerics who have a sound position on statehood only because they are opposed to the government. I had a lot of communication with Sardar Hajihasanli in prison. How can a Rasulzadeh lover (who also read me a poem dedicated to Rasulzadeh) be linked to the Iranian state? Our most serious weapon against Iran must be our clergy with such national pride.”
Social issues. Azadlig Newspaper’s article “How did the government deceive war veterans?” took a close look at veteran Mammadli’s story. According to the article, Karabakh veteran Gulu Mammadli shortly after returning from the war, like many veterans, were promised that they would be given economic support in the form of cattle by the employment offices. However, almost a year later, they did not receive anything. Mammadli asks why the animals that were left in Karabakh wouldn’t be distributed among low-income families and needy people.
Fuad Gahramanli also reacted to social inequality and injustice. Gahramanli wrote: We have witnessed the suicide of a neglected Karabakh veteran, a pensioner who can’t make ends meet, a citizen in debt, a patient who can’t get medicine, a child who can’t afford clothes to go to school.
For the first time, we saw the suicide attempt of a popular Western–educated politician. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev’s suicide attempt shows that political and legal means in this country are blocked. If a politician who has to show society the solution to the problems chooses the path of suicide, it means the society itself is subjected to moral suicide. We are living in a period of great collapse and decline.
Historian professor Altay Goyushov reacted to the increasing prices and declining economy. Goyushov wrote: You said it would be good after the war. The cost of all utilities has risen. Food prices increase once in the morning and once in the evening. Prices in restaurants and coffee houses in Baku have surpassed Paris. The most expensive iPhone in the world is sold in Azerbaijan. The most overpriced cars in the world are also here. For the second time, I read that to the corruption in Azerbaijan, the foreign press refers as “corruption that is unparalleled in the world.” Reports of arrests, rapes, harassment, and deportations are also commonplace. Samad Seyidov has been elected rapporteur on human rights and democracy at the Council of Europe. It will be even better. Why are you in a hurry? The anniversary has not even come yet.”
Azadlig Newspaper reports that Musa Guliyev, chairman of the parliamentary committee on labor and social policy, said that “men should pay their spouses for housework”. Speaking at the conference “The role of civil society in the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights,” Guliyev said that women account for 77% of unpaid work at the household and plus take care of family members. Guliyev argued that men should pay women for it because if there is no woman in the house, the man would need to hire someone to do that work.
Post War situation. Azadlig newspaper shared a touching story of veteran Aliyev Jahangir Gulbala oglu. Born in 1999, the veteran who lives in Sumgayit was sent to military service in April 2019, and was seriously injured in the Second Karabakh War, and was taken to the Central Military Clinical Hospital in Baku, where he remained in a coma for two months. As a result of the bomb blast, his left skull was broken, and the fractured bone was removed. Only one thumb was left in his left hand, and the thumb of his right hand was cut off. His back was burned, and his right side was paralyzed. In addition, his right eye cannot see, the right ear cannot hear, and the right arm and leg have lost the ability to move. His mother says that Jahangir was awarded a pension of 200 manats and a presidential pension of 380 manats. However, the family is worried that the allowance is not enough to cover the expenses, especially considering the medical treatments that Jahangir needs to receive.
Azadliq newspaper reports that veterans are protesting. Karabakh veterans protested in front of the Khazar District Executive Power. They wanted to meet with the chief executive, but the chief executive did not accept them.
Sevinc Osmangizi shared on her youtube channel that six months after its opening, mannequins, and helmets that belonged to Armenian soldiers were removed from Ganimat (Trophy) Park. The dummies of Armenian soldiers and the so-called “enemy helmets” sparked controversy both in the country and abroad.
October 22, 2021