Center for National and International Studies



“In a bid to stifle the rise of democracy in the region and cling onto power, the regime purposefully heightens tensions between our nation and Europe…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

Lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev visited Niyamaddin Ahmadov, the security guard of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) chairman, at Detention Facility No. 12. Mehdiyev reported that although Ahmadov remains on a hunger strike, his health condition is relatively stable despite some concerns. He relayed the appeals from party leadership and family members urging Ahmadov to halt the hunger strike. Niyamaddin Ahmadov indicated that he would soon announce his decision on the matter. Subsequently, after he had a meeting with his father at the detention center, Ahmadov ceased his hunger strike. Considering the pleas from both party members and family, Ahmadov has resolved to end the hunger strike.

In Berlin, Germany, a demonstration titled “End Terror against Journalists” was organized by a group of Azerbaijani political refugees living in Europe. Led by the Chose Democratic Azerbaijan (DAS) Organization, the protest took place on March 26 and aimed to highlight the plight of imprisoned journalists in Azerbaijan. The demonstration took place in front of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Azerbaijani Embassy in Germany. Alibey Dadashov, a member of DAS, asserted during the protest that the prevailing corrupt, authoritarian, and dynastic regime in Azerbaijan is perpetrating repression against political activists and public figures: “Esteemed international organizations like the European Union, the Council of Europe, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and Freedom House have all documented this. The number of political prisoners in the country exceeds 250.”

Jailed journalist Ulvi Hasanli‘s detention has been prolonged once more by the court. On March 27, the appeal regarding the extension of Ulvi Hasanli‘s detention, who serves as the director of “Abzas Media,” was reviewed. Despite the proceedings at the Baku Court of Appeals, the appeal was dismissed. The judge upheld the Khatai District Court’s decision to prolong the detention period. In November 2023, Ulvi Hasanli was arrested by the police, and simultaneous searches were conducted at his apartment and office.

Lawyer Agil Layij has reported that he filed petitions with the Narimanov District Court for Nazim Baydamirli and with the Khatai District Court for Alasgar Ahmedoglu (Mamamdli). Layij said that, there have been no investigative actions taken regarding any of these individuals. “Their detention appears to be purely punitive in nature. They are considered prisoners of conscience, and many of them suffer from significant health issues. Despite efforts to arrange medical treatment for Baydamirli through his chosen doctor, our requests to the relevant institutions have been repeatedly delayed and unresolved. Alesker Mammadli urgently requires medical intervention and biopsy, but despite our efforts, there seems to be no alternative except to continue appealing.”

Lawyer Rufat Safarov emphasized that activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev‘s arrest, subsequent invasive intrusions into his personal life, exposure to psychological harassment, and trial on false charges are directly linked to his public and political activism. “Since December 2022, Hajiyev has faced baseless accusations and unjust social isolation. They sought revenge, and their pursuit continued. Furthermore, they attempted to render him defenseless.” Currently, the court investigation is ongoing. Bakhtiyar Haciyev, recognized as a political prisoner by Human Rights defenders, debunks the falsehood of the trial’s accusations with a strong stance, thereby exposing the absurdity of the state prosecutor and the complicit judges. Safarov said that “Hajiyev remains unwavering in his beliefs, expressions, opinions, and positions and that he is confident that Hajiyev will effectively counter the “evidence” presented by the prosecutor and the court during the trial, revealing that the state accuser and the court system wield nothing but a “legal instrument” and affirming his innocence. Hajiyev was arrested and detained on December 9, 2022, awaiting trial for charges of “hooliganism” and “disrespect for the court,” which he refutes. He asserts that the persecution is politically motivated and initiated a hunger strike in protest.

The Baku Court of Appeals has released the officers convicted of abuse of power in the State Service for Mobilization and Military Conscription at the Khazar District Administration. This decision overturns their previous sentences. Three months ago, Savalan Rasulov and Farid Ismayilov were sentenced to 3 years, 6 months, and 3 years, respectively, based on corruption charges. They were accused of unlawfully influencing members of the Military Medical Commission and accepting 67,000 manats in bribes to exempt conscripts from service. Dissatisfied with the verdict, the officers lodged an appeal. Hasan Ahmadov chaired the panel of judges responsible for reviewing the appeal. Upon examining the case materials, the higher court judges concluded that continued detention was unnecessary. Instead, Rasulov and Ismayilov were each fined 9,000 manats. Both officers were released from custody during the court proceedings.

Chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), Ali Karimli, highlighted the grim reality in Azerbaijan, where each year, over 100,000 Azerbaijanis seek refuge in Russia, despite its wartime conditions, just to secure basic sustenance. Despite being aware of Russia’s dismal treatment of migrants, particularly Muslims, characterized by rampant corruption, extortion, and lack of human rights protection by law enforcement, Azerbaijanis still gravitate towards Russia in significant numbers. According to Karimli, this stems from the absence of viable means to support themselves and their families within Azerbaijan, where the majority of wealth is monopolized by a corrupt elite. “The repressive regime not only denies ordinary Azerbaijanis access to their country’s natural resources but also blocks their prospects for visa-free travel to developed European nations. For labor migrants, the allure of visa-free entry to a perilous destination like Russia outweighs the risks. Were visa-free travel an option, they would opt for developed European countries such as Germany for employment. However, the regime denies Azerbaijanis this opportunity as well. In a bid to stifle the rise of democracy in the region and cling onto power, the regime purposefully heightens tensions between our nation and Europe. They withhold visa-free access to Europe for Azerbaijanis. This exemplifies the real agenda behind Ilham Aliyev‘s policies. The majority of our people are stripped of our country’s resources, leaving millions struggling to secure basic needs. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis seek refuge in Russia annually, despite the risks it poses to their lives.”

According to Meydan TV, the cost of meat in Azerbaijan continues its relentless ascent. It appears challenging, if not improbable, to witness a decline in meat prices in the near future, according to the experts. Consequently, frozen meat has been imported from India to Azerbaijan for several years. Initially, this imported frozen meat was primarily utilized in sausages and similar products, including those served in public catering establishments. However, recently, it has become increasingly prevalent in household kitchens as well due to the dire economic situation. The trend indicates a declining number of consumers purchasing fresh meat annually, while there is a growing preference for frozen alternatives.

March 29, 2024