Center for National and International Studies



“Every gram of gold that the Aliyevs extracted from the Soyudlu gold mines (and others) carries with it a scent of blood.”

(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms

Since the protests against the illegal activities of the gold mining company in Soyudlu village erupted, dozens of people have been arrested. Former political prisoner Giyas Ibrahim and an activist from the NIDA civil movement Elmir Abbas, are among those who were administratively arrested for 30 and 20 days, respectively. To protest the mistreatment and police brutality witnessed in Soyudlu, Giyas İbrahim started a hunger strike at the prison. His demand is the release of all individuals who were arrested in connection with the protests in Soyudlu village. In the meantime, the court extended Ibrahim‘s prison term by 2 days, making it a total of 32 days. Giyas Ibrahim’s deteriorating condition led to him losing consciousness while being transported to court for his appeal. Feminist activist Gulnara Mehdiyeva, who attended the court hearing, told Abzas Media that the condition of Shura Amiraslanova, Giyas Ibrahim’s, has also worsened, and they had to call ambulance for both of them. However, Mehdiyeva said that Amiraslanova was denied to received medical aid.

Director of Baku Research Institute Altay Goyushov said that if new charges would be brought against Ibrahim to arrest him for a longer term, the Western countries should react by imposing sanctions against the Aliyev regime. “Western countries should not forget that this dictatorship is fueled by the financial support it receives from Europe and America in the form of dollars and euros”, said Goyushov.

The person who made posters for Soyudli protesters was arrested on drug charges. A resident of Gadabey District Ismayilov Habil Khamputa oghlu was arrested and sentenced to 3 months in prison by the court’s decision. Meanwhile, independent media reports that entry and exit to Söyüdlü village have been restricted for several days now. A checkpoint has been placed at the entrance of the village. Journalists and bloggers, even the people of Soyudli who live in neighboring villages, are not allowed in the village. Opposition politicians and activists believe that the police overstepped their authority and it is unconstitutional to restrict the freedom of movement. “It is not within the power of the police to impose a state of emergency, a special regime, or restrict the freedom of movement of citizens within the country”, said Samad Rahimli.

Azadliq newspaper reports that journalists Nigar Mubariz, Nargiz Absalamova, and Elsever Muradzade, who covered the Soyudlu protests and exposed brutal police violence, were beaten by the police and forcibly expelled from the village.

Moreover, activists Gulnaraa Mehdiyeva, Narmin Shahmarzadeh, and Sanubar Heydarova, who protested against police brutality and the recent arrests in Soyudlu at an independence day celebration organized by the US embassy were forcibly removed by the security service of the embassy and handed over to the police. Journalist Ulvi Hasanli, who covered the incident, was also detained. They all were later released. Hasanli wrote in his Facebook post that he was forced to delete the Facebook post, but he refused to do so. Hasanli : “I was summoned to the police station under a different pretext and interrogated on a different matter.

Commenting on the recent arrests, the chairperson of the Azerbaijan Popular Ali Karimli said that “resorting to arrests and oppressive tactics cannot effectively save the regime or stifle the voices of the society.” Karimli called on the Azerbaijani public to fully support their legitimate demands, of the Gadabay residents and demanded the regime to stop poisoning the land, water, and people for its own  gains.

Governance and Corruption

The Cabinet of Ministers announced that the quarantine period was extended until October 2. This also means that the land border will be closed. However, travel restriction for using land transportation to leave or enter the country applies only to Azerbaijani citizens. Foreign citizens can come to the country by plane and leave through land borders on the way back. Chairperson of the APFP Ali Karimli said that “with such absurd decisions, the regime puts its supporters, the media, its cronies, the army of sycophants and trolls in a very bad situation.”

The National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) issued a statement on the environmental terrorism and police violence that occurred in the village of Soyudlu of Gadabey district. The statement says: “Gadabey district, which has been one of the beautiful corners of Azerbaijan’s nature for many years, is facing the ecological terror of the Aliyev regime. The large amount of cyanide waste generated as a result of the application of outdated and cheap technologies during the operation of the Gadabay gold fields, which is owned by the ruling family, has been confirmed by international journalistic research, and the discharge of a large amount of cyanide waste into the artificial lake created in the 10 ha area of Soyudlu village, and the fact that this lake does not meet the safety standards, is causing a real environmental tragedy to the local people. As if these were not enough, the Aliyev regime, which seized all the underground and surface resources of the country and was a prisoner of the inexhaustible desire to get rich, took away 48 hectares of grazing land from these poor people and created a second artificial lake for toxic cyanide waste in that area. As the National Council of Democratic Forces, we demand from the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to the environmental terrorism and police violence perpetrated against the residents of Soyudlu, and release the people who were illegally and unjustifiably arrested administratively.”

Chairperson of the NCDF Jamil Hasanli said that “there is nothing in the country that does not belong to the Aliyevs” . In April 2016, “Azadlig” radio (Radio Liberty) shared an investigation called “Hidden Golden Empire of the Aliyevs” which argued that the gold mines in Gadabay belong to president Aliyev’s daughters. to his daughters. Moreover, accoridng to the locals, 15 women died in the past two months due to the complications developed as a result of the gold production. Jamil Hasanli said that “Literally speaking, every gram of gold that the Aliyevs extracted from the Soyudlu gold mines (and others) carries with it a scent of blood.” The extraction of gold in the mines in Soyudlu village relies on methods that have long been banned worldwide. Despite the chief executive’s claims that cyanide acid is harmless, modern technology and proper environmental safeguards are implemented in gold and copper mines across African countries. In Soyudlu, however, these operations prioritize the cheap acquisition of gold at the expense of human lives. Ecological safety regulations are completely disregarded in Soyudlu, as toxic chemical waste, acid, and cyanide acid are openly discharged into a man-made lake situated perilously close to the village.

June 27, 2023