Large-scale repressions in Azerbaijan!

July 27, 2020

The statement of the Institute for Peace and Democracy

Many dictators in the authoritarian countries use the pandemic COVID-19 to suppress the dissidents, freedom of speech and the opposition. The Azerbaijani dictator, Ilham Aliyev, has implemented the most brutal repressions against the people with dissenting views.

The collapse of oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused serious social and economic problems in Azerbaijan, which could certainly trigger the citizens’ protests. However, Ilham Aliyev did not intend to provide any financial assistance to the citizens. The dictator decided to preclude any civil demonstrations by means of the repressions exclusively. The arrests were already launched in March 2020. Fictitious criminal charges brought against Tofig Yagublu, the opposition leader, and the activists of the leading opposition party Popular Front (PFPA), such as Zamin Salayev, Niyameddin Akhmadov, Said Mammadzade, and the civil society activist Elchin Mammad; moreover, the former Defense Minister and former political prisoner Ragim Gaziyev-77 years old. Also dozens of citizens were arrested and brought to administrative charges.

From 12th to the 16th of July there were clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border, with casualties and deaths on either side. In solidarity with the killed soldiers, thousands of people demonstrated in the center of Baku in evening on July 14. The dictator could not ignore this opportunity to provoke clashes between citizens and the police in order to prosecute dozens of pro-opposition activists. The video, filmed by the journalists at the demonstration, clearly depicts the State Security Service (SSS) officers, notably the SSS Major General himself, Rauf Khalafov, the President’s cousin who was one of the first entering the Azerbaijani Parliament building, the doors to which happened to be suddenly open on the night of July 15. It was clearly seen that the demonstrators, including the SSS officers, wandered through the Parliament Lobby and left the building. Nothing was damaged or smashed there.

But on July 21, Ilham Aliyev delivered a speech accusing the opposition of preparing a coup d’etat, which he said allegedly had begun with the seizure of the Parliament building.

After that, about 150 people were arrested within a few days. They were brutally beaten, tortured and asked to testify about the forthcoming coup. Dozens of citizens were brought to administrative charges and received between 15 and 60 days of detention. The criminal cases were filed against 29 citizens under the following articles: 186.2.1. (deliberate destruction or damage of property), 233 ( organizing actions encouraging the violation of public order or active participation in such actions), and 315.1. (resistance or use of violence against the representative of authority) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (CC AR). Their names are:

1.Mustafayev Sabuhi Yusif oglu

2.Vahabov Mushvig Fazil oglu

3.Aliyev Ilkin Pirali oglu

4.Mammadov Elchin Aliaga oglu

5.Valiyev Tural Famil oglu

6.Mahmudov Kamil Akif oglu

7.Huseynzade Emin Shirmammad oglu

8.Babayev Ramiz Hamza oglu

9.Mammadov Azer Vagif oglu

10.Yusifli Asif Ganbar oglu, member of PFPA

11.Ahmadov Seymur Intigam oglu, member of PFPA

12.Rahimli Shamsi Rasim oglu

13.Nagiyev Ramid Zakulla oglu, member of PFPA

14.Mustafayev Siyavush Firudin oglu

15. Imanov Bakhtiyar Badal oglu, member of PFPA

16.Movlayev Dayanat Karam oglu

17.Guliyev Vusal Gunduz oglu

18.Hasanov Ismayil Vagif oglu, member of PFPA

19.Chobanov Parvin Nadir oglu

20.Suleymanov Baba Tahir oglu, member of PFPA

21.Mehdiyev Elchin Eldar oglu

22.Mammadov Ismail Iltifat oglu

23.Novruzov Jeyhun Farhad oglu, member of PFPA

24.Nagiyev Mahabbat Rovshan oglu, member of PFPA

25.Maharramov Ayaz Habib oglu, member of PFPA

26.Seyfullayev Telman Saleh oglu, member of PFPA

27.Mammadov Fariz Azer oglu

28.Mirzoev Gunduz, member of PFPA

29.Gahramanli Fuad Ali oglu, member of PFPA

Fuad Gahramanly, a member of the PFPA Presidium, was detained on July 24, 2020. Besides the above mentioned Articles he was additionally charged under the Article 278 (actions aimed at forcible seizure of power or forcible retention of power contrary to the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as those aimed at forcible change of the state constitutional order) of the Criminal Code of AR. The authorities have decided to accuse F.Gahramanly as the head of the coup d’état, he could face up to 20 years imprisonment. F.Ghramanly stayed in prison for the last time on falsified charges from 2015 to 2019.

The Institute for Peace and Democracy received more detailed information on the most severe torture of detainees. To cover up signs of torture and the presumably killed under the torture, the detainees are not brought to the trial and the court orders the preventive measures – detention without the accused ones in the courtroom. In a number of cases, the detainees’ relatives cannot trace the arrested person within 7-8 days. Thus, on July 20, Nijat Ibrahim was detained near his house and, his wife, despite appeals to the Ombudsman’s office, to the Red Cross, the Ministry of Internal Affairs was unable to find him anywhere….

There are currently about 190 political prisoners, and repressions are ongoing. The number of those killed under torture, martyred and innocently convicted will increase without the international community’s attention.

Dr. Leyla Yunus

Director of Institute for Peace and Democracy