Center for National and International Studies



The top issue discussed by FB community is the sentence of 4 years 3 months to the activist of Musavat party and National Council of Democratic Forces Tofig Yagublu, the 6th day of his hunger strike in prison  and the e-campaign of solidarity and demand of his immediate release. The FB community widely shared the international reaction to his  sentence – statements of the Western government and international organizations in his defence. The registration of REAL party, congratulations on this occasion of the president to their leader is discussed as the indicator of decline, or even downfall of the organization. The events in Belarus are followed closely- the FB community analyses their implications for the region and democracy.

Ali Karimli of Popular Front Party reports the statements by the international community decrying the sentence to Tofig Yagublu. The EU statement questions the court procedures which led to the sentence and calls for the review of the case of Yagublu. He also shares the statement by the US Embassy, British Embassy and the US State Department Bureau on Human Rights and Democracy, that calls for the release of the activist. They quote former Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich who in his interview to the Voice of America  called for the global sanctions in response to the arrest of the Yagublu. He noted that the concern with the recent events in Azerbaijan in the West has grown and the era of “ silent diplomacy’ with Baku should come to an end. The activists stress that in a rare move the US State Department has issued two statements one after another within two days in regards Tofig Yagublu. The statement by the Amnesty International is translated and widely shared among FB users. Leading civil and political figures, activists,  writers and journalists, such as Ali Karimli, Arif Hajili, Hikmet Hajizade, Gubad Ibadoglu, Sabit Bagirov, Gunel Movlud, Seymur Hezi, Hezi bey, Mehman Huseynov, Gultakin Hajibeyli, Ganimad Zahid, Habib Muntazir, Khadija Ismayil, Altay GeyushovGozel Bayramli, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Ordukhan Babirov, Chobanoglu,  and many others joined the e-campaign demanding freedom to Tofig Yagublu. Some activists in exile such as Afghan Mukhtarli, Ayet Ismayil, Tofig Mammadov also started a hunger strike in solidarity with Yagublu. FB users also share the statement by NCDF

on this occasion. Jamil Hasanli gave an interview to the Voice of America on this matter.  Besides signing the petition, the FB community share an announcement of a protest action in front of the building of the Constitutional Court on the 9th September.( by the initiative of the Free Left Union) ADR movement announced a video conference on the 8th September dedicated to the defence of Yagublu rights.  Agil Laij, the lawyer of Tofig Yagublu reports that the health of his defendant has worsened and is under serious risk, he lost 10 kilos, and reported that the prison chief has brought the psychologist to get a medical opinion that the hunger strike is the result of his psychological condition, not political reasons. The lawyer has filed a complaint to the Court of Appeal. The prominent lawyer Shahla Humbatova, demanding freedom to Yagublu,  recollects the changes in the health condition of her defendant- Mehman Huseynov few years ago on the 5th day of hunger strike in prison, and comments that if such drastic changes happened to the young person,  then the health of a 59 year old Tofig Yagublu is under more serious threat. Ganimad Zahid stresses that this action of Yagublu is not just about himself, but about stopping the practice of arresting people on the trumped up charges. People indignantly discuss and decry the statement of Ilgar Mammadov, who tried to blame for possible consequences of the Yagublu sentencing not the president , but the activists, who are demanding his freedom. Gultakin Hajibeyli answers that this is the regime, which united with the “Pasha” opposition  to eliminate Yagublu and argues that the salvation is in the hands of the people. The political analyst Ramis Yunus discredits REAL party and its leader Ilgar Mammadov in his video statement. “Payment of compensation, a seat in parliament, which you called a zoo, and now the registration of your party….Was it really worth spending almost 5 years in prison for such a betrayal of democratic values, Mr. Mamedov? Your downfall clearly shows that the Aliyev-Pashayev regime does not need such bright and charismatic opposition leaders as Tofig Yagublu, therefore they are trying to kill him today, since they need you as “pocket opposition”. B. Hajiyev argues that very different circles and in different ways are all involved in the campaign against imprisonment of Yagublu and that society should cement this unity and reach a goal of freeing Tofig Yagublu and other political prisoners. People share with surprise the news that MP Gudret Hasanguliyev, the leader of the “pocket opposition” called for the  release  of Yagublu. The daughter of Yagublu Nigar Hezi expressed her concern in regards his worsening health on the 6th day of the hunger strike in prison, and that there are no checks on his health by the prison medical service. She reports that her father shows his resistance to the attempts of the prison administration to convince him to stop the hunger strike. Nigar Hezi points that if something happens to Yagublu – this will be direct responsibility of the president Aliyev. Yagublu is not going to stop- and if he is not released he will continue a hunger strike. She demands on behalf of the family to include doctor Adil Geybulla in the medical commission appointed by the apparatus of Ombudsman in order to prevent biased medical conclusion.The interview of the former ambassador Arif Mammadov to Osmangizi TV among other, asserts that the West should punish Russia for Navalny, while Azerbaijan officials -for Yagublu. Activists share the satirical appeal to the president by the FB user Aydin Jan to release Tofig Yagublu. The author suggests that persecution of Tofig Yagublu does not make any sense and looks like purely personal revenge and ironically asks whether the president experiences orgasm when he puts him in prison. He argues that people would want president to defeat not Yagublu, but Pashinian, or Ramiz Mehdiyev, and ironically concludes that the victory over Yagublu and his family is not worthy of the president’s fame.

The issue of political prisoners is always on agenda of FB community. The human rights defender Elshan Hasanov reminds the criminal case against the journalist Mahmud Rasimoglu the head of the Caucasus News Agency, and sentencing him for 12 years. He was hijacked in the street, tortured in Bandotdel by the order of its head Muzaffar Mammadov and opened a criminal case against him, which was approved by the court of Appeals on 3 July 2019, and by Supreme court- in the 18 March 2020. The crime of the journalist was submission to the Ministry of the Interior and Prosecutor’s office the video of the employees of Bandotdel stealing the businessman and extorting money. Ganimad Zahid runs the e- campaign of fund raising for the families of political prisoners. Seymur Hezi shares the news about release after long sentence of Azadlyq newspaper’s correspondent Ziya Asadli. Sevinj Osmangizi TV held a programme on how should the international community react to the critical situation in Azerbaijan with  a few participants- woman politician of NCDF Gultakin Hajibeyli, the daughter of Yagublu Nigar Hezi, the ambassador in exile Arif Mammadov, the journalist, based in NY Alekber Raufoglu, and a moderator- the US journalist Joan Lysosky. The panel concluded that the persecution of the activists will not stop, unless there is more active and serious pressure of the West on the president Aliyev. Ali Karimli in his video statement discredits the cliché that the arrests of the activist Yagublu was made by the “ bad” surrounding of the “ good” president, and  assesses the possibility of the president to leave the path of Maduro or Lukashenka. Ali Karimli also reports the release of the journalist and the PFP member  Ziya Asadli after completion of his 3 year sentence from the prison N.5 of Salyan. The arrested member of the presidium of the PFP Bakhtiyar Imanov reported in  a telephone conversation with his family that so far he has not received any of their deliveries. Gozel Bayramli of PFP reports the party member Ramid Nagiyev, detained for the participation in Karabagh rally in the mid July, was transferred to the investigation prison in Kurdakhani from the medical treatment section of the prison. She reminds about the criminal case opened after 30 days of detention against Baba Suleyman, who is both sick ( heart disease)  and innocent and should be released. She quotes his mother Sabiga Pahsayeva who is continuously writing  posts calling for release of her son and other political prisoners.

FB community continues to share videos and news and discuss  events in Belarus. Ali Karimli comments that Lukashenka does not quit power, although hundreds thousands people have been protesting for more than a month demanding his resignation. He considers that his resistance will not succeed, as Belarus people’s struggle will reach its goal. B. Hajiyev ironically mentions, that while people have surrounded the presidential residence of Lukashenka, he desperately puts old women-pensioners  in the buses and tries to arrange the support rally for himself. He is not smart enough to divide the government in two teams ( old guards and new reformers), create an opposition for himself and play a bit ( Like Aliyev- L.A.)”- concludes Hajiyev.

FB users also comment on the statement by the former head of the department of the presidential administration Ali Hasanov decrying the publications, which portray him as a conspirator along with Ramiz Mehdiyev of the coupd’etats, and asserting that he has always been loyal to Heydar Aliyev. Gunel Safarova comments that they should not be surprised because they are hit by the system which was created by himself and the other members of the government. She also reports that some high level officials who were fired are selling their properties and asks the question where do they go? Nigar Hezi notices that the section of comments on the official page of the president Aliyev has been closed. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev comments on the delayed special session by the initiative of the Azerbaijani government in the UN, which was originally planned on the 10 July, but now – on the 5-6 th  November and that there are some country’s  protests against the speech of the president Aliyev at this session.  He also mentions that Ilham Aliyev congratulated Ilgar Mammadov with the registration of his party, in turn Mammadov thanked him. Hajiyev comments that, if not other,  making fun of people is a talent of Ilham Aliyev. He argues, that Ali Hasanov might ask for the asylum in Germany, where he went for medical treatment. The police discovered a lot of valuables in Gurban Mammadov 5 store private house in Baku and informed that it was given to him by instruction of Ramiz Mehdiyev and Ali Hasanov. The activists and journalists comment on the degradation of the REAL party climaxing with the congratulations of Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of its registration.

Economic and social issues are also in the center of attention. Gubad Ibadoglu analyzes the newly disclosed the budget for the next 2021 year, with income – slightly increased, while expenses- decreased. He also comments with the reference to the national legislation, including the Constitution, on the violation of the property rights and interference in the private lives of citizens.Habib Muntazir tells a story of the Azerbaijani citizen who brought to the country a motorcycle bought in Germany for 1,300 euro. But at the Azerbaijani customs had to pay two much higher amount ( 5,061 manat) as a customs duty. He appealed to the court, but the court did not consider the case for a year already- all this time the motorcycle was in the courtyard of the Customs Agency, for what he is charged 10 manats daily. The customs and court are in poor condition, but the state propaganda says that Germany is collapsing. He also reports the letter from the citizen, who lives in the 251 new school neighborhood in Nizami district. He writes that while preparing for the visit of the vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva to open the new school they closed all the shops, offices, markets in the neighborhood due to security reasons, it was bearable, but they also sent their agents to prevent the citizens from leaving the house!!!The citizen complains that they were sitting in their homes with strangers waiting when the “ beloved” vice-president  finishes her function.

September 8, 2020

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