Center for National and International Studies
“The silence and fear in society, especially the educated segment of the society, created favorable conditions that enabled the government to commit such crimes.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Representatives of Azerbaijani civil society have called on the country’s leadership to stop inhumane acts such as physical violence and torture against its opponents and critics. The joint statement released on Wednesday said that “if, as claimed by the authorities, the political authorities and official structures are not behind these actions, then the question of why the perpetrators of these crimes have not been found and brought to justice must be answered.” The statement also called Western democracies to defend democratic values and principles: The statement read: The democratic world must show that it seriously protects its values and principles in Azerbaijan and force the Azerbaijani government to build its relations with society in accordance with its obligations to the world.”
Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev said that he doesn’t have any expectations that an operative and objective investigation will take place to find out the perpetrators of the tortures and brutality against him. Hajiyev believes that this crime should be a matter of honor for the Interior Ministry, and the Minister should be interested in clearing his name if indeed he was not behind it.
Moreover, Hajiyev also thanked those who publicly expressed solidarity with him and urged that in such cases, silence would only encourage the perpetrator. Hajiyev’s Facebook post read: I have never been in favor of condemning society for the situation we are in now. I have always thought that the current situation is the result of repression, crime, and illegal acts of the government, and people can not be blamed. However, now I am beginning to think that the silence and fear in society, especially the educated segment of the society, created favorable conditions that enabled the government to commit such crimes.”
Journalist Seymur Hezi reported that those who demanded the investigation of the brutal acts that were committed against Hajiyev were called to the police to delete their posts. Hezi argued that this is a clear indication that the government is not interested in investigating the crime but rather, in silencing the public and making them forget about it.
Exiled journalist Afgan Muktarli wrote that despite his communication both with German authorities and the German office of Amnesty International, the German government decided to deport Azerbaijani asylum seekers who were arrested upon their return to Baku. Five migrants were arrested on trumped-up charges after being deported from Germany to Baku. Muktarli’s post on FB: We inform the international organization about the improper investigation of the cases of Azerbaijani political activists in Germany and the suspicious behavior of the Bavarian government. This process takes a long time, and requires a lot of paperwork, communication, writing, and providing evidence. It seems the decisions of the Amnesty International German office were based on the opinions of the organization’s partners in Baku, who were influenced by the Azerbaijani authorities. The German office of Amnesty International refused to investigate the case, transferring the case to the head office in London after a long and tense correspondence. I wrote my questions to them. But I want to share my doubts with everyone. The migrants were deported by the German government. Logically, the German office of Amnesty International should investigate the case. If they refuse to do so, there must be a reason which does not exclude the possibility that the office doesn’t want to have problems with the German government.”
Human rights defender Nasir Aliyev whose son has been arrested as part of the Tartar trials said that the current investigation includes only the crimes that have been committed in Tartar region. In his interview with Meydan TV Aliyev said: “The newly formed investigation team in the Tartar case is investigating only what happened in Tartar itself, disregarding the other regions where similar crimes were committed. Unfortunately, the prosecutor’s office has suspended the case of those who were tortured and arrested in other regions. Victims who go to the media and tell what happened are not reinstated. Those who kept silent about the crimes in Tartar could return to their jobs. The Ministry of Defense seems to manipulate public opinion.”
Sultan Dadashov, who attacked a motorbike delivery driver in Baku, was brought to trial in Yasamal district. APA reports that the court sentenced Sultan Dadashov to 25 days of administrative detention. On April 25, a video was spread on social networks showing a driver of a Lexus car assaulting a motorbike driver during a dispute on the motorway. The video of the incident recorded on Metbuat Avenue was shared by the victim Murad Salman. The video showed the motorbike driver protesting against the car driver, who did not allow him to drive on the road, and then the dispute quickly escalated into a psychical attack. The video also shows the car driver deliberately trying to injure the motorbike driver. The driver of the car, Sultan Tofig oglu Dadashov, is the head of the Presidential Palace’s security department of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev argued that “this incident and other events that are taking place these days will be artificially spread around, and someone will be punished” so that the crime committed against him will be forgotten. According to Hajiyev those who prefer to turn a blind eye to kidnapping and state terror would talk broadly about the incident on the motorway between two drivers. Hajiyev concluded: “Even if you are a citizen who silently says that “I do not interfere in politics,” and ignores kidnapping and other crimes, remember that one day the head of the department of the Presidential Palace may pass by motorbike with his car slap and humiliate you. Therefore, we must not remain silent about injustice. Let’s demand justice for all.”
Activist Nigar Hezi said that in a society where there is no law and no justice, people who are rich would not see any problem in beating up the ordinary people on the street.
Huseyn Malik, a member of the board of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party and adviser to the chairman, a war veteran, was called to the police station. Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that the summoning of Malik to the police station is connected with his critical social media posts. In his latest Facebook post, Malik has criticized the violence against activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Malik was released after being detained at the police station for more than two hours.
Governance and Corruption
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) presented an investigation into another corruption scandal involving Azerbaijani officials. According to the study, during the development of the Shah Deniz-2 project, which cost about $ 28 billion, about $ 1.7 billion was misappropriated from the investment project through two contractors close to SOCAR‘s management alone, and the organization documented that even BP was aware of the process, but turned a blind eye. According to the research, Ikhtiyar Akhundov, the head of one of the companies (Bos Shelf), and his wife bought several luxury properties in Miami alone worth more than $ 10 million.
Social and Economic Issues
The roof of the 18th century Dere bath, registered as a cultural monument in Sheki, collapsed. Chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli reacted to the incident by saying that although the governments invest heavily in restoring historical buildings abroad, in Azerbaijan, cultural heritage is lost due to negligence. Hasanli wrote: So there are no churches, catacombs or museums that the Aliyevs did not restore in Europe to demonstrate that they belong to the civilized world: restoration of St. Petka Cathedral, restoration of the Palace of Versailles in Paris, restoration of the Louvre Museum, restoration of a castle in Berlin, restoration of the “Hall of Philosophers” in the Capitoli Museum in Rome, etc. However, every week in the regions of Azerbaijan, the roof of a school collapses or the walls collapse, resulting in death. During the rule of the Aliyevs, our country fell into a state of disarray.”
April 29, 2022