Center for National and International Studies
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
On August 22, activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was stopped by police officers dressed in civilian clothes while walking on the street and was forcibly taken to the Baku City Police Department. Hajiyev was released after his critical posts on Facebook were deleted. Hajiyev previously said that he was openly threatened by the police if he kept criticizing the Minister of Internal Affairs Vilayat Eyvazov. After his complaints were ignored by the Ministry, Hajiyev submitted his application for renunciation of Azerbaijani citizenship. Hajiyev wrote on FB: “Officially today, I submitted the application to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Commander-in-chief Ilham Aliyev, regarding my renunciation of the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan. They said they would respond within 15 working days if there were no need for further information.” Hajiyev said that “in a power structure when soft power, speech, reason, and intellect are not equal to hard power, that structure leads the country to disaster.” The activist’s FB post continued: “Sympathy, love, and respect for an institution, a person, a government, or a state cannot be aroused by force, violence, or threats. From the moment that force is applied, it arouses only hatred and anger in the people.”
Azadliq newspaper reports that the police officers used violence against the member of APFP Alikhan Rajabli. The officers of the Masalli District Police Department broke into Rajabli’s house, psychically abused him in front of his family members, and forcibly took him to the police station.
Aziz Mamiyev, who was recently released from one-month administrative detention, was dismissed from his job. Mamiyev’s employer refused to pay the salary and compensation. This is the third time that Mamiyev’s employment has been terminated due to his political opinions. On August 10, journalist Gulnara Rahimova wrote that during the rally, police used force against Mamiyev while detaining him. Rahimova shared the photo of the police officer who had beaten Mamiyev. However, after her post, Rahimova was summoned to the police and later was accused of slander against the police officer. Chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli said that this incident is proof that police officers who violate the law are protected. Hasanli wrote: “A police officer who has committed a crime is protected and evaded from responsibility. The person who uncovers the crime is threatened with imprisonment.”
Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu said that the accusation against Rahimova is baseless and should be free. Yagublu wrote: This is a new stage. Until now, Ilham Aliyev was content to defend the policemen who committed crimes (torture, defamation, harassment, etc.) against the citizens, especially against the opposition. However, he has changed his tactics. Now he has started the repression against those who expose the names and pictures of those police officers. The first victim of this policy is Gulnara Rahimova. On July 20, a criminal case was opened against her for identifying and publicizing the identity of the policeman who beat and insulted Aziz Mamiyev, who was detained at the “Open the country’s land borders” rally. Today, a preliminary hearing was held at the Khatai District Court, and the next trial was scheduled for August 30, 2022.”
On Wednesday, ADW party member 70-year-old Anvar Agamalzade was detained by the police when he was going to attend the rally organized by the Party. The police officers twisted his arm and took him to the regional commissioner’s office in the territory of the police station. After detaining him for seven hours without food and water, the police threatened Agamalzade not to participate in the protests again and released him later.
Commenting on the recent cases of human rights violation, chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that the current policy of the regime “will completely deprive it of any support from the people.” Karimli wrote: “Ilham Aliyev and his entourage do not take into account the fact that every police violence, desecration, and arrest of every innocent person, especially cases of torture, hurt and destroy the last hope of thousands and tens of thousands of people and break the last ties between the government and the people. It is the tyranny, cowardice, and “we will do what we want” policy that completely deprived the ruling group of any support of the people. The existence of the government in the virtual world is due to trolls, and its existence in real life is possible only thanks to the police with batons. One might think that trolls and police support are enough to protect the government. However, the experience of dozens of authoritarian regimes shows that there is a time when people have finally overcome their fear of the cruel authorities.”
Governance and Corruption
Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Prosperity (ADR) Party Gubad Ibadoghlu shared the statement of the Party saying that members of the Party held a protest in front of the Ministry of Justice. A group of party members called on the Ministry to follow the laws, not to create unreasonable obstacles to the registration of ADR, and to register the Party. “The fact that the Ministry of Justice repeatedly committed this violation of the law means that the Ministry can prolong the process of state registration of the ADR Party indefinitely, and it also indicates that the Presidential Administration did not allow the state registration of the ADR Party”, said Ibadoghlu. According to the statement of the Party “such a gross, biased, deliberate violation of the law by the Ministry of Justice is inadmissible, and a crime” and the Party members will demand the Ministry of Justice to comply with the requirements of the law.
The Cabinet of Ministers announced that the quarantine regime due to COVID-19 will be extended until November. Calling it absurd many social media users objected to the decision of the Cabinet. Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli said that “it was expected,” and by not protesting against the closed land borders public has already given consent to this decision. “When people did not join Tofig Yagublu to the protest against the closed land borders, we once again sent the message to the government that “do what you want” and our “glorious” government acted accordingly”, said Gahramanli.
Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu commented on the decision of the Cabinet, saying that “they decided to keep the land borders closed so that the family-owned airlines can easily rob citizens traveling from and to the country.” Yagublu also added that the regime “will continue to rob and humiliate the people according to the instructions of Ilham Aliyev.”
Azadliq newspaper, referring to the Ecofront organization, reported that the Ministry of Ecology and the Prosecutor’s Office are collaborating with those who destroy the forests. “In Lankaran, in Haftoni settlement, 150 hectares of forest land are being dug, and the soil is transported elsewhere,” said the member of the organization in a video shared on social media. The Ministry of Ecology denied that there is any work in the forest, but, as seen in the video by Ecofront, tracks and various equipment are used to excavate the forested lands. Despite the investigation of the case by the prosecutor’s office, excavation work is still going on in the area.
August 26, 2022