Center for National and International Studies
“Azerbaijani citizens must transfer 36 percent of the value of the products they buy to the state budget so that the state officials, who are vigilant about statehood, can easily transfer that money offshore, buy properties in London, Dubai, and Paris, and spend it on decadence…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli reported that Emin Malikov, who was arrested after being deported from Germany, was tortured in jail. Mukhtarli’s post on Facebook: “I received more information about Emin Malikov, who was arrested after being deported from Germany. Emin was arrested for a trumped-up drug abuse charge. According to the information given by the person who met him at the medical facility in Kurdakhani prison (I will not mention his name for security reasons), Emin was subjected to terrible torture. According to the witness who stated that Emin’s eyes were swollen, and his health condition was in very bad shape. Emin was kept in solitary confinement in Kurdakhani. I am asking the relatives of Emin, those who know his family, to contact us. Human rights defenders should pay attention to this case. It is important to contact the Red Cross and ask them to visit prison number 13.”
Alizamin Salayev, who has been on a hunger strike for 47 days in prison, lost consciousness due to a heart attack. Chairperson of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Ali Karimli said that Salayev was not provided with medical care despite his health condition. “Our people are witnessing this cruelty and oppression. Alizamin Salayev is not a criminal. He was arrested and tortured. Although he has a serious heart disease, he has been starving for the 47th day. He faints and loses consciousness repeatedly. However, the ruthless people not only do not release him, they also do not even hospitalize him or provide medical care.”
Governance and Corruption
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan released information saying that illegal Armenian armed forces are digging trenches under the name of agricultural works in the direction of Yukhari Veysalli settlement of Fuzuli. The ministry said that the Azerbaijani army prevented the attempt.
“On the afternoon of March 25, members of an illegal Armenian armed group in the territory of Azerbaijan, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed, attempted to dig in the direction of Yukhari Veysalli settlement of Fuzuli district for the purpose of engineering preparation of a trench under the name of agricultural works.” The ministry did not disclose the details of the measures. The ministry said in another statement that the Azerbaijani army had taken control of the illegal weapons and ammunition transport routes in the north of the Lachin corridor. “Taking into account the situation, necessary local control measures were implemented by the units of the Azerbaijan Army in order to prevent the use of roads north of the Lachin road for illegal activities, as well as the escalation of the situation by carrying weapons and ammunition by Armenia and the commission of potential provocations.”
Commenting on the recent developments in the region, member of the APFP Fuad Gahramanli said that in a possible confrontation with Iran, Azerbaijan will be protected by the US. Gahramanli: “Iran is trying to show that it can target the West’s energy projects in our region in the event of military action against it, most likely by threatening Azerbaijan. It is clear that, no matter how close official Baku is to Israel, Azerbaijan’s territory is not intended to be used for military operations against Iran. Therefore, hitting Azerbaijan in advance will not affect the possibility of military operations of Israel and the United States against Iran. On the contrary, Iran’s air strike on Azerbaijan before the attack of Israel and the United States can create a legitimate basis for the launch of large-scale air attacks against Tehran. Here, it is important to remember Blinken’s statement: “We must protect Azerbaijan’s borders against Iran”. Therefore, the Iranian leadership is forced to take these results into account. As the Azerbaijani leadership knows this, it behaves very comfortably with regard to the issue.”
Armenian Court allowed the ratification of the International Criminal Court Treaty, which would obligate Armenian officials to arrest Putin and extradite him to The Hague tribunal if he visits Armenia. As there has not been a similar move on the Azerbaijani side, member of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) Tofig Yagublu said that Aliyev’s government should take the same step if he indeed pursues independent policy. Yagublu: “Armenia is more dependent on Russia than Azerbaijan. However, despite this, the constitutional court of this country approved the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for the arrest of the war criminal Putin. This means that Putin cannot come to Yerevan, and if he does, he will be arrested. Ilham Aliyev brags and says he pursues a completely independent policy and does not depend on anyone. He once said that Azerbaijan does not adapt its foreign policy to the wishes of its giant neighbors. Logically, Azerbaijan should have taken this step first because its territories were occupied by the invading Armenia, its population was massacred, and its cities and villages were razed to the ground. On the contrary, Armenia should not sign this statute, as what Russia is doing to Ukraine it did to Azerbaijan at the time. Ilham Aliyev, your courage goes as far as defaming defenseless and disabled oppositionists and imprisoning, beating, torturing, and killing them. If you have the courage, then approve the Rome Statute and show the world that our country is also on the side of justice and that if Putin comes to Azerbaijan, he will be arrested. You can’t do it because you don’t have that courage and conviction. You are busy training “eco-activists”.
Lawyer Agil Layic shared his observation of the recent court cases saying that the number of petty theft cases has increased lately. Layij’s Facebook post: “Recently, there has been an increase in administrative cases of petty theft in the courts. The reason for most of the thefts is food products and baby food that are essential for daily life. This shows that the social welfare in the country is going to deteriorate drastically, especially in the regions where people are already forced to steal food from shops to survive. Employment in the regions is at zero level…This is an unparalleled development…”
Azerbaijan Customs Committee confiscated the luggage of a citizen returning to Baku and shared the photos of the personal items on social media. On its Facebook post, the committee argued that the total value and number of the purchased items exceeded the limits set by the law. However, the act of the committee stirred outrage, with many condemning the committee for violating the law on customs and the rights of the citizen. Member of the NCDF Gultakin Hajibeyli said that from the photos, it was clear that the products were bought for personal use. Hajibeylis: “The citizen did not bring drugs, did not carry weapons, just bought cheap clothes from Turkey for his family and himself so that he would not spend three times more money on the same goods in Baku. At present, Azerbaijani citizens must pay tax for every item they buy and for every dress they wear. They must transfer 36 percent of the value of the products they buy to the state budget so that the state officials, who are vigilant about statehood, can easily transfer that money offshore, buy properties in London, Dubai, and Paris, and spend it on decadence. Thanks to such an act of robbery, our Customs Committee earns more than 30 percent of what the Germans earn from the cars they produce. You have destroyed domestic production, and as if it is not enough, you also somehow manage to annoy the poor people even more. I don’t think there is any need for hypocrisy. Let’s change the name of the country and make it an absolute monarchy, and officially restore the taxes in kind and in the form of labor as during the feudal system. For example, citizens should carry goods in Bravo markets for free one or two days a week. If there is no water, they shoot anyone who asks for water. A tax should be levied on air so that justice may fully prevail.”
March 28, 2023