They can also beat you up, or break your camera or attack you with a broken bottle as we saw outside Khadija Ismayil's trial today (August 7). The absurdity of it all is unexplainable, I cannot put in words how bizarre all of this is.
So remember the fake court attendants? Well turns out they are not so fake after all. They are listed in the directory of the court and get called in to "attend" the trials of those defendants whose hearings are likely to be quickly filled up with friends and colleagues.
I remember attending the hearing of N!DA activists when I was in Baku. I also remember attending several times the hearing of the donkey bloggers. The rooms were almost always full with friends, colleagues, diplomatic staff and so on.
People would cheer for the defendants, somehow raising their spirit I suppose or perhaps to comfort themselves - I did, I was happy to see them all alive each time, see them smile and wave at every familiar face they saw at the court. It is such a different world that it is also very hard to put down in words.
But this time it is all very different.
Just like it was during the hearing of Leyla and Arif Yunus, many of the people who actually knew Khadija were left outside the court, waiting.
One of the local journalist, former political prisoner himself said he was familiar with this phenomenon of fake attendants. They are on speed dial and often are invited to fill out the seats. They are also paid a dismal amount of 5 to 10AZN.
So when a group of these fake attendants were caught on cameras leaving the court room instinctively the local reporters jumped on the opportunity to ask who they were. After all, perhaps it was possible that Khadija had some very very very very distant relatives even she herself didn't know existed?!
Turns out they were not the distant relatives nor were they in the mood for much talking. In fact a few of them were unhappy. So unhappy that they were ready to beat the crap out of the reporters who approached them in the first place asking questions about who they were and where they were coming from.
Eventually one had his camera broken, the other almost had the same but managed to save himself.
The optimist in me wants to think they were angry not because they were asked questions but because they were so deeply disappointed with the show trial and how badly it was organized that they just couldn't handle the anger and simply had to burst out at the journalists. But we all know this is not the case.
Today we saw that our people are ready to sell themselves for some petty cash, sit in a court of a person they don't know, snap and yell at journalists they don't know and then get to walk away freely as if nothing happened and as if it was not a human life that they just watched the whole day inside that court room get unjustly accused of the crimes she never committed.
I guess Aliyev deserves real pat on the shoulder for achieving this almost robot like thinking and the enmity of people towards each other. It is his way of ruling that forces people to the extremes and these fake attendants are just one example.
As for us, outside observers, all that is left is to watch, bite our nails and pointlessly yell at our screens as we watch yet another innocent life get silenced for truth.