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Center for National and International Studies


FB Digest@VoxPOPULI                                      



FB actively discusses the opposition not sanctioned by the authorities National Council meeting on the 19th and the women’s rally against domestic violence on the 20th.

The particular unprofessional actions of riot police, who grabbed any passer by attracted the attention of many. The witnesses report detention of people going to the train-station to catch the train, the boy, who was crying that he went to buy A4, women going shopping, all of them put with excessive violence in the police vehicles and brought and left in the most distant deserted place in the late afternoon at 5-6 hour walking distance from the city, with amateur video showing groups of women walking the road with no cars or any other transportation. Many of those women were simply passers by, and did not have even wallets by them.

Due to the particular cruelty and resolute in maltreatment of people, some FB users suggest that (as it was in 2003 with special police force), they “ might be Kurdish groups ( brought from Syria)”, or simply call them “the Armenian army”, these are remaining the rumours, which were criticized by the other users as xenophobic.

Many would state, that the rally proved that the police is not “the people’s police”, but the one serving regime. FB users would share comments that the rally also demonstrated- contrary to some official statements- that there is an opposition in the country. People reported beatings and tortures of the detained participants. Journalist Nurlan Libre reports that the  central Semashko hospital does not provide medical aid to the tortured in the Nasimi police station the war veteran  Nasimi Dadashov, as it is related to the incident with police, and that there is a risk of internal bleeding. Dozens of activists and leaders were sentenced to administrative terms in prison- from 5  to 60 days. Among them, the newly released activist of Musavat party Tofig Yagublu, Ilham Huseyn, Seymur Hezi, Pasha Umudov, Sagif Kurbanov, Emil Salim and others.  Nigar Hezi, the activist of Musavat, the wife of Seymur Hezi and the daughter of Tofiq Yagublu, standing in front of the police station, comments on their detention: “ I used to be in the prison, along with my father, and then – with my husband, now – my husband and my father are detained. May be- she suggest ironically, – it is time to give our family a special room in prison, so all of us could fit it?” Nigar Hezi later on the 21st reported serious tortures of her father Tofig Yagublu, with the purpose to get a remorse statement from him ( similar to PFPA chair Ali Kerimli).

The activists and FB users discuss the tactical advantages and mistakes of the organizers. Some praise the tactics, the other stress that limited capacity of the police force was not used fully. People also react to “selective participation” and “selective solidarity” of some leaders, joining one meeting ( on the 20th) but not the one on the 19th October.

The FB widely share the interview with the leader of the Popular Front Party Ali Kerimli, who reported about tortures with special cruelty in the police bus after he was detained. They tried to get a remorse letter from him, threatening to kill him, and since he refused hit his head in particular, so the doctors had to put 6 stitches on the wound on his head. Similarly, Tofig Yagublu was so beaten , that they broke his rib, but the doctors did not give him treatment, reports the lawyear Samira Aghayeva. She also writes about threatening of the  staying at home family of Rabiyya Mammadova, the meeting participant.  The FB users report that Pasha Umudlu was planted drugs by police for his active role in organising the meeting and so far was given the highest term of administrative detention.

Isa Gambar of Musavat came up with statement condemning the actions of police and detention of activists, demanding their immediate release.

Statuskar reports about  the total number of police force dislocated to prevent the meeting on the 19th. – 45,000. The organization DAS ( Choose Democratic Azerbaijan) issued a strong statement condemning the application of force and the anti-popular regime. The comments urged necessity of unification of opposition.

FB users also comment on the statement by the ruling party YAP about anti Constitutional nature of the rally of 19th October. “It appears that expression of  protest contradicts our Constitution.. Have they heard of the article 49 of our Constitution? About freedom of assembly? Whom it was written for? – asks Rufet Bakhshbeyli.

The FB users share and comment on the information by the ANS TV reported by its anchor Mir Shahin. The information revealed that the authorities illegally and secretly recorded private meeting of one of the opposition leaders Gultakin Hacibeyli  and representative of the EU office in the country Dennis Danilis. The recordings are broadcasted by his channel as a proof, that the opposition is led by the foreign forces. The programme however reached the opposite effect: people are widely discussing the illegality of the actions of authorities, rather than illegality of the meeting.

FB users widely discuss and cover the women’s rally against domestic violence in the city center on the 20th October. FB is filled with detailed photo coverage of the police reaction to the rally, one of which depicts violent separation of the mother and daughter Yaghmur. ( Family members of the ex-deputy chair of Popular Front party Fuad Gehremanli, newly released political prisoner of 5 years, the daughter of whom went public about domestic violence. As the issue became widely debated, he resigned from his position in the party. The prosecutor took an advantage starting a criminal  investigation against the opposition activist Fuad Gehremanli into the case of domestic violence, however, his wife a writer Yaghmur, demanded to stop the case, as they did not complaint to the interior, and urged not to manipulate the issue in political purposes). Some commentators stress that the action of feminists differed from the other actions because they were all young and  had a specific ( unlike general – “resignation”) demand – joining the international  Convention against the domestic violence. The commentators also shared videos with the street cleaning women, who apparently for pennies were harassing the protesters. One of the organizers and speakers at the meeting defended publicly the rights of the street cleaning ladies. Hamam times writes ironically that women protesting domestic violence faced the police violence placing a video showing the brutal detention of 15 year old Sanay Yaghnur by police, and urging to share this video. In the coverage of both public rallies videos were placed with discrediting and similarly brutal behaviour of the women-policemen against protesters. One of the women-policemen was identified as Narmina Aliyeva, the the champion in Karate, apparently indicating that sportsmen and sportswomen were widely attracted to the suppression of the rallies.

The activists comment on the presidential decree about firing of Ali Hasanov and Hajibala Abutalibov from the deputy Premier position. Bayram Mammadov ( former graffiti prisoner) said, that firing the the deputy premiers in response to the public rally of the 19th cannot be regarded anything but insult.

October 21, 2019

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