Tuesday, March 18

Spring clean up in Azerbaijan- just in time for Novruz

Just in time- as Azerbaijani people get closer to celebrating Novruz- a traditional holiday welcoming spring- Azerbaijani government gives them a very nice spring present as part of the spring clean up. Instead of cleaning up the mess of corruption and their own wrong doings, they are after something else. On March 17th, the Sheki District Court sentenced Ilgar Mammadov and Tofig Yagublu to 7 and 5.6 years respectively. The two were arrested in February of 2013 during their visit to Ismayili, a region in northern Azerbaijan where people embraced 2013 with taking the streets and voicing their frustration with the social injustice and power abuse.

Ilgar Mammadov is the Chairman of the Republican Alternative Political Movement. He was meant to run in October 2013 Presidential Elections but due to his arrest was unable to. 

Tofig Yagubli is a journalist with the local opposition paper Yeni Musavat and deputy chairman of the opposition Musavat Party. The two were arrested on charges of inciting violence. Unlike the court and the authorities, Yagublu and Mammadov claim their visit had no such intention. According to a statement by the Institute of Reporters' Freedom and Safety, Mammadov and Yagublu went to Ismayilli to get first hand information of what was going on. 

If it is still not clear, let me chime in, the authorities were looking for an excuse to get the two arrested, perhaps they even developed a plan, but failed at implementing the original plan, when a new opportunity came knocking on their door. Aha! they said, how convenient, lets just arrest them when the two get to Ismayilli- there will be plenty of things then we could use against them. 

So here you have it- two more people in jail for what?! Isn't it clear that the only body responsible for inciting violence is the government itself?! How long and how many more arrests, detentions, and deaths, it is going to take for the international organisations like the Council of Europe to recognize that Azerbaijani government is is nothing short of an authoritarian state and that measures must be taken against? I guess not for a while... At least not as long as we have the oil, the gas, and of course, the caviar...

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