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Center for National and International Studies


FB Digest@VoxPOPULI                                      



The FB users continue to discuss the rallies on the 19th, 20th, final court hearing on the case of the suicide of the teenager Elina Hajiyeva and the resignation of the head of the presidential administration Ramiz Mehdiyev.

The description of tortures applied to the opposition activist former political prisoner Tofig Yagublu and quoted by e-Azadlyg newspaper are widely shared by the FB users. The police beat him ( he was beaten for an hour with  his hands locked by robber handcuffs and dragged them up) making him to accept that his activities are a mistake and that he will abstain of them from now on. The beatings intensified the more he refused to do it. His rib was broken, he could not move the right hand, and his face had traces of beatings, as witnessed his daughter who visited him in prison. But he sent everyone a message that struggle goes on. He also asked about his son, whom he heard in the other room, while they were beating him too. Alta Geyushov of REAL writes: “ This gestapo regime made father hear the screams of his son while he was tortured in the other room- can you imagine such a thing? This cannot be forgotten and forgiven. Those to blame should be punished strictly, so nobody else would do crimes against humanity here again. Do not stay indifferent, protest!”

Nigar Hezi, the daughter of Tofig Yagublu, reports, that she was approached by the female student in the market, who asked about her father and said that very many students wanted to join the rally, but they were threatened by the administration- only for one “like” under the speech of Ali Kerimli I was almost expelled from the University.

Gultakin Hajibeyli, a female politicians and also a member of the opposition National Council, asks FB users to join her campaign in defence of Tofig Yagublu. Big nations, she writes, would treat Tofig Yagublu as a hero, instead of rotting him in prison, like we do. But my belief that we will turn into a dignified nation she continues – increases day by day.  Azadlyg newspaper quotes pro-government MP Faraj Guliyev on the police violence during the 19th October rally: “They (opposition) are lying, and fake the torn clothes etc, which was done not by the police, but themselves. In fact, neither robber bullets were used, nor the dogs.” The FB users continue “naming and shaming” of the police officers, who applied violence to the protesters at the rally.

The Committee against Repressions and Tortures conducted a meeting devoted to the events of the 19th October rally. The meeting was well attended and was covered by media.

The group of opposition activists, family members, friends, colleagues of those who were arrested at the 19th October opposition rally staged a protest meeting in front of the US Embassy, calling for their immediate release, with the purpose of spreading the information to the world. While the police surrounded  the place, it did not intervene.

The FB users ironically play with the expression “one nation- two states” by making parallels between the rhetoric of Erdogan and Aliyev. “The opposition in Turkey says,- writes activist living in exile Dashgin Agalarly, -that while ordinary people are losing their lives in Syria, the relatives of the ruling elite are enriching through non-transparent tenders. The AKP responds: you are the betrayers, speaking like PKK terrorists”. This, by the FB users is similar to what the Azerbaijani leadership says to opposition.

Gozel Bayramli, a female opposition activist, former political prisoner, attracts attention to the Popular Front Party activist, Pasha Umudov, who the police planted drugs to, and arrested for 3 months, and that for a few days already did not allow his meeting with his family members, which testifies to him being tortured.

After months of obstacles, difficulties and struggle  related to his restoration in the University the chair of  youth NIDA movement and former political prisoners Ilkin Rustamzade reported today, that his struggle succeeded, but the former “graffiti prisoners” Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov are still not restored in the University.

FB users discuss the restructuring/uniting the following ministries- Ministry of Economic development, Agency on Privatization of the State Property and Anti-Monopoly Committee in one  and appointment of Mikail Jabbarov as a head of the new ministry. Natig Jafarov of REAL explains the meaning of the re-structuring and the appointment of Jabbarov as a head of “the super-ministry”, which he considers equal to prime-minister. He writes, that there are three sources of filling the budget: Ministry of Taxes, Customs Committee and the Agency of the Privatization of the State Property and that uniting all of them in one would be a logical step. So Mikail Jabbarov should request the unification of the Customs Committee as well, so there will be a greater control and less opportunities for a sabotage, as this appointment means both increasing power, but at the same time- greater responsibility, which can – if needed – turn him into the scapegoat. Arif Mammadov ( former ambassador, now in exile) with irony  comments, that  some of the so called “opposition” activists try to present recent appointments as a beginning of government’s  reform. Azadlyg newspaper quotes Ali Kerimli, the PF party leader, that do not all these people, who speak about government’s “reforms” after  all the tortures which the authorities applied to make activists keep silence, cause society’s sense of despise? He appeals to the people so they do not tolerate this situation and join in protests. “ The Meydans are waiting for us!”, he says.

Altay Geyushov quotes the new British ambassador, who praised the reforms going on in Azerbaijan, and especially young and full of energy  newly appointed  ministers, who has positive agendas and views, and that he is looking forward to working with them. The website Azerbaijan Troll Academy quotes Altay Geyushov, who is making fun of the “ reforms”  using the example of rather strange hairstyle of the Azerbaijan Central Bank Elman Rustamov by saying that the true reform would be to cut the perpendicular lock of hair on his head.

Natig Jafarli of REAL  asserts that the economic reforms are not possible without fair courts and just judicial system.

The investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil, who is still under the travel ban, comments, that the history repeats itself with the unification of the ministries as it was in the case with Farhad Aliyev ( former head of the ministry f Economic development, who was later arrested- now released). “ I have seen this movie already”,  she comments. The only difference is that this time the Taxes ministry is added, but the Customs is still a separate agency. She also comments “ here is the joke of the day: President Aliyev complains to Mikail Jabbarov about the business interests of the ministers. Well, Jabbarov may get confused and quote Azercell, AzEnCo, Pasha Holding, Ata Holding, Azerfon and other…all belonging to the president and his family.”

In general, the reshuffling of the ministers was met by the flow of jokes and satirical comments from the side of the FB users.

The human rights defender Rasul Jafarov asserts that for the economic development  the government should create all conditions for free functioning of the civil society, first of all the legislation regulating their activities should be totally renewed.

The lawyer Adil Ismayilov writes that all those detained should be immediately released. “I wish, – he comments- the next step would be release of all  those detained during the last events. This would be an excellent beginning of the following talks.”

The  human rights defender Taleh Khasmammadov  comments on the UN Human Rights office statement condemning police violence during the “feminist” rally on  October 20th , but not towards the violence during the rally on the 19th. In P.S. he notes, that Ilgar Mammadov ( a leader of REAL), knew which rally to attend[1].

Ilgar Mammadov, has commented on the concluding court hearing on the case of suicide of a teenager Elina Hajiyeva, and the resulting soft sentence, which caused indignation in the society.” The school director was not charged because she was a director of the school where the bullying and suicide happened, but as a person who did not call the ambulance in time. However, she avoided the adequate punishment exactly because she was a director.  Azerbaijani courts put the innocent power opponents in prison, while delivers from responsibility  guilty but loyal to the power people. This case,- he concludes,- has a good prospect in the ECHR, but it may take time”. Ulvi Hasanli, the youth activist, writes: Today the sentence on the case of Elina Hajiyeva was read, which was a total shameful covering the criminal sentence. What has happened, they said, the president started reforms? The problem is that nothing good can happen while these people are in power. They created a system, which failed the country and only after they leave, the improvement will take place.

Age of the current bureaucracy has been the topic for some time already, with FB users  sharing Bilal Galib’s post about new appointment of Ramiz Mehdiyev as the president of the Academy of Sciences with the photo of three members of the Academy of Sciences, commenting that “ 86 year old Akif Alizade was replaced by a younger 81 year old Ramiz Mehdiyev, and the young guy behind them on the photo is the 70 year old Isa Nabibbeyli. Together they are 237 years old”

Anar Mammadli, assessing the probability of true reforms expresses his doubts, as  true reforms require political will and resources. While Elchibey had political will, but not the resources, the current government has resources, but does not have political will or respective values.

The Zerkalo newspaper writes that NGO Progress Club reported  that the City Council has removed the newly built “book bus stops”, which the NGO established as part of their project. According to the project, a few bus stops have collection of books, which people at the bus stops can freely read while waiting for the buses.

The leader of REAL Ilgar Mammadov, assessing the reshuffling of the ministers by the president Aliyev, stated that this appointments do not return power to the people. Azerbaijani people do not become either free, or prosperous. That’s why the true reforms will be tested by the fairness of the next parliamentary elections.

Basta posted the video of school pupils who imitate the violence applied by the police at the rally on the 19th October.https://www.facebook.com/Bastainfocom/videos/




October 26, 2019