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Center for National and International Studies




FB community has been reacting to the news about worsening health of the opposition activist Tofig Yagublu on 12 day hunger strike in prison by the  intensified campaign demanding his release, met with concern his transfer to the City Hospital and news that he was in coma condition. FB community expressed indignation to the posting on FB of REAL leader Ilgar Mammadov of the quote from Washington Times that “ the opposition cooperated with Ramiz Mehdiyev” and shared the statement of Jamil Hasanli in response to this. The community celebrated 102 years of liberation of the country in 1918, suggests to make the 18 of October, post-Soviet liberation,  non-working day. It continues to discuss the corruption in the upper echelons of power and  comment on continuation of quarantine until the 30th September. FB users  follows with concern and solidarity protests in Belarus and  express indignation by the visit of Armenian prime minister to the occupied territories.

The FB community continues to keep the situation with political prisoner on 13 th day of hunger strike Tofig Yagublu   in the center of attention by expanding and intensifying the campaign in his defense. The hunger strike in solidarity continues in Nurnberg and Berlin in Germany, the protest action was held in Stockholm in Sweden, in Toronto, Canada, in StrasbourgFrance. His daughter Nigar Hezi warns that if he is not released, they will lose him and that people should demand from the president  his unconditional and immediate release. She presents the statement  demanding  his release by 73 Karabagh war veterans from Nakhichevan. She also reports the call to free Tofig Yagublu by the chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Czech Parliament Pavel Fisher.  Jamil Hasanli of NCDF states in his FB status that Tofig Yagublu is a victim of Azerbaijan injustice and of criminal act of authorities. He stresses that the state treats its own citizen by the rules of bandits or thieves; its judgespolicefake witnesses united to destroy the dignified activist and citizen with integrity and that Ilham Aliyev and Mehriban Aliyeva bear direct responsibility for his life. He  stresses that they are opening 2nd or 3d criminal cases against members of PFP in prison– Fuad GahramanliAsif YusifliMammad Ibrahim. He lists all prominent activistsbloggers, leaders who became victims of the repressive machine of Aliyev and reminds that Tofig Yagublu is protesting and struggling against this repressive machine. The FB reports that the ongoing solidarity hunger strike in Berlin was joined by the activist women in exile: Konul Amirova and Menzere Kamil. In Baku the group of Musavat party youth branch members continue the hunger strike in solidarity with Yagublu – Elman GuliyevZafar GuliyevAyat IsmayilTofig MammadovElnur HasanovGozel Bayrmali, deputy leader of PFP reports the sentence of 15 day detention given to Huseyn Malik the member of the board of ADR who was arrested  at his home and demands his release. She warns that not releasing Tofig Yagublu from prison increases people’s hatred  to power. The community finds it suspicious that the day of hearing of Yagublu case in the Court of Appeals is deliberately postponed and argue, that this is a proof that the order to destroy the activist was given by Aliyev himself. The lawyer of Yagublu Agil Laij reports that the court decided to return the car and the telephone to the family members of Yagublu, but – to destroy “his” winch. The court never satisfied the request of the lawyer to get finger prints from the winch, but asserted that it belonged to YagubluKhadija Ismayil, prominent investigative journalist posts on her FB timeline: “Corrupt regime of Azerbaijan enjoys impunity in silencing its critics by jailing, beating or murdering them. By neglecting calls for application of Magnitsky sanctions to corrupt Azerbaijani officials EU and US share responsibility for injustice taking place in Azerbaijan”. FB community shares the statement by the National Council of Democratic Forces attracting attention to the alarming state of health of Tofig Yagublu and calls for immediate release of Tofig Yagublu. It stresses that in case of threat to life of Yagublu the direct responsibility will lie on Ilham Aliyev and Mehriban Aliyeva, as the main fake witness in the slander case was the employee of their family company “Silk Way” and the whole law enforcement and justice system is under their control. FB community calls the case of Yagublu  a test for the society of Azerbaijan, who should not be silent but actively demand his release. Ali Karimli of PFP visited and supported the activists on hunger strike in solidarity with Tofig Yagublu. He reminds that in 2007 as a result of the hunger strike the first woman political prisoner Faina Kungurova died of heart failure in prison. This was also the first death of political prisoner. But there was no sufficient public attention to that. He warns against possible consequences of the non-release of Yagublu– from  mass public actions to the international sanctions. He called Tofig Yagublu, that regardless where he is – in the prison, or in the hospital – he continues to be a hostage of the regime and that his life is in danger. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev comments, that government by its actions has already alienated everyone in the country against itself. Some activists express their concern with the transfer of Tofig Yagublu to the City hospital, suspecting the government conspiracy, and reminding that Ogtay Gulaliyev also got in coma condition when he was at this hospital and the doctors delayed medical treatment in the hospital. They also stress that this is not the goal of a hunger strike, so he should be released instead. The ADR leader Gubad Ibadoglu comments that the transfer is done under monitoring of the family trusted doctor Adil Geybulla by the request of Tofig Yagublu himself and the doctor’s integrity should not be questioned. The most recent update on health of Yagublu by his daughter suggests that they did not transfer him as promised today from the intensive care to the ward, neither they allow him to speak to his family members. She expresses her high concern and demands the penitentiary service to bring clarity in his situation. The lawyer of Tofig Yagublu comments on his case that everything is fake here- the witnesses, the proof, the whole story, “the only true  is Tofig Yagublu, but we live in the country where the fake people destroy the true ones” he concludes. Altay Geyushov, an academic in exile, comments that not only Tofig Yagublu but everyone  is writing the history of the country today – some write the one which their descendants will be proud of, the others- will be ashamed of.  Jamil Hasanli of NCDR comments on REAL’s Ilgar Mammadov’s posting the quotation from Washington Times, which repeats the Azerbaijani official propaganda and asserts that the opposition has been cooperating with “grey cardinal” Ramiz Mehdiyev. Hasanli writes, that the true opposition, like NCDF and PFP,   does not want to change the agenda participating in dirty games of the government and the pocket opposition like REAL while two activists of their organizations are victims of this system and are on the verge of death. He argues that the government  financially supported the publication of the official propaganda in the unpopular newspaper Washington Times  while the pocket opposition is spreading it. (He mentions two heralds of the regime: “ Jerusalem post” and “Washington Times

”.) He proves absurdity of this idea by mentioning many facts, including that the only party’s celebration Ramiz Mehdiyev ever came to was the party where Ilgar Mammadov was the deputy chair ( he means ANIP – L.A), or giving financial compensation by decision of ECHR to the REAL members, but still did not executed the ECHR decision for Yagublu’s  5 year ago diseased daughter. He calls it “ shamelessness”. The FB community also shares the photo of the 5 year old grandson of Yagublu ( the son of his deceased daughter Nargiz)  with the poster “Freedom to my Grandpa Tofig”

FB users share news about successful surgery of the cancer tumor of the blogger, former political prisonercandidate in local elections Mehman Huseynov, which lasted 10 hours  in Switzerland. He had to undergo radio and chemotherapy before he was operated. His condition was caused by the beating and tortures on 27th December 2019 in connection with his protest against the arrest of the young musician Parviz Guluzade. The Baku doctors refused to document his injuries and did not render him medical help in time. He had to apply for the treatment in Switzerland, but it required 80 thousand euro. His organization –IRFS – managed to raise funds of 83 thousand euro via GoFundMe platform of individuals, and 50 thousand euro were given by the number of Human Rights and Media organizations, both foreign and local. His family expressed deep gratitude for the help to all people, organizations, and the governments of Georgia and SwitzerlandAli Karimli, the leader of PFP keeps in the center of attention the fate of the arrested young Popular Front party activist Mammad Imanli, on trumped up charges for “spreading the coronavirus”. He quotes the letter of his father, who writes that as a war veteran, who saw horror of tortures given by the enemy to the children,  he could never imagine, that the similar things will be done to themselves at home. (his arrested son has two children- 1 year old and 15 days old). Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR suggests the announce State Independence Day of 18 October a non-working day. The Supreme Soviet decision proclaimed the republic independent on 18 of October 1991, which joined the UN. However, in 2006 day was announced a working day and in violation of Constitution and  its celebration at the state level was thus prevented. The leader of ADR movement spreads the petition calling for reversal of this decision.

The former ambassador to Russia, opposition and democracy activist Hikmet Haji-zade raises the discussion about the Russian language, criticizing  voices in favor  of  closing down Russian sector of education. He argues that Russian language is one of the languages providing access to the world culture and news, as well as is the vehicle of modernization.  He claims, that love to the motherland and patriotism does not depend on knowledge of language, and classifies the Azerbaijani culture – as that of “honor”, while Russian culture – as that of “ conscience”. His post caused intense debates.

Activistsjournalistsbloggers comment on visit of Pashinian to the occupied territories in Karabagh. They note with indignation that while the Armenian premier visit the occupied territories, the Azerbaijani president is on holidays abroad in Turkey. They also share with great concern the news that Lebanese Armenians are settled on the occupied territories of Karabagh.

The National Strategic Think Tank under the leadership of Isa Gambar held a conference on 102 years of liberation of Azerbaijan by the Turkish forces in 1918.

Fb community comments on the extension of quarantine until the end of September. They note, that president Aliyev left the country in violation of the recently announced extended quarantine which leaves in force all the limitations on the movement in the country. They comment that his family owns villa and hotel in Bodrum ( Allium Villas Resort) worth of 13 mln euro. Habib Munazir comments that during the quarantine while the elite is on holidays and is enjoying itself, the ordinary citizens are fined, detained and tortured by police. They ironically comment on the president’s statement that “ everyone is equal before the law”, that it contradicts the different kinds of punishments which were given to bureaucrats who equally participated at the wedding party of the grandchild of Ramiz Mehdiyev.

FB community continues to discuss the corruption of the bureaucrats. They share the long list – of 45 – companies which in violation of the conflict of interests belonged to the head of the department of the presidential administration ( now under investigation) Ali HasanovHabib Muntazir also discredits the composition of the Customs Committee, all based on the clan principle with the leading staff are all  from Nakhichevan. They ridicule the information from press service of  Muslims of the Caucasus Office  that Allah Shukur Pashazade  is nominated to the Nobel prize of peace. Achig Azerbaijan presents new material and a blog by Nariman Bekiroglu about the transparency in the extractive industry in the country. The article argues that with the last presidential decree about elimination of the Commission on Transparency of the Extractive Industry and transfer of the reports in this area to the State Statistics Committee even the imitation of provision of transparency is over in the country.

The FB community continues to closely follow events in Belarus and express its solidarity with the protesters. Ali Karimli states that the last rally proved that Belarus people are stronger than dictators because in spite of all the force Lukashenka brought to suppress them and hundereds being arrested, they did not stop and continued their battle. Sevinj Osmangizi reports that Lithuanian parliament voted for recognition Tikhanovskaya and the members of the Coordination Council as the only legitimate government. Gultakin Hajibeyli comments that it is the second month that Belarus people write most glorious pages of their history- continuously protesting at the squares. She notes, that nobody there asks where are the opposition leaders, and why should we come out, if they do not? She answers that this is because the Belarus people are not fighting for a leader, but their own rights and freedoms, and the leader of this struggle is not Tikhanovskaya, but the people themselves.

September 14, 2020

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