Thursday, October 22

Azerbaijan, the land where parents denounce their children: Thank you Mr. President! You have done your job here!

Just when you think it cannot get any more worse, this [AZ] happens. Allow to explain for those who do not understand and speak Azerbaijani. Gunel Movlud is an Azerbaijani writer. She has an incredible talent for nailing down the right words in her writing. She is smart. She is also an editor of Meydan TV, media outlet started by a former political prisoner himself, Emin Milli. In the last few months, Meydan TV faced a number of issues with the government- its journalists were persecuted, several of them questioned at the grave crimes unit. One of Meydan TV journalists was thrown into 30 day administrative detention for allegedly "swearing at the police". 

Gunel's story is unique however. Based outside of Azerbaijan she has continued her work from afar. Some two weeks ago two of her older brothers were arrested at the same time in two different towns. They are charged with drug charges and are facing possible 3-5 years of jail time if convicted. 

Yesterday [October 21], Gunel Movlud's mother Shofkat Shafiyeva told BBC Azeri service she is denouncing her daughter. "If my daughter won't denounce Meydan TV, then I am denouncing her" said the mother to BBC Azeri service. 

But Gunel Movlud is determined to continue her work and she has not intentions of stopping her cooperating with Meydan TV. 

On her Facebook status right after her brother's arrest she wrote the following
"Friends, I do not want to talk much about what has happened. Even a child would understand these arrests are targeting Meydan TV. They don't want anyone to work with Meydan. They are using relatives to pressure. But I won't give up my work with Meydan TV, or with Emin [Milli]. I will not distance myself from the people who work with Meydan. The arrest of my two brothers left my parents who are both battling with their health to death. Yes, I am afraid, of my family, my child, of my family getting ruined this way, of my life, of the life of my relatives. They can do anything. I am afraid and fear is absolutely normal. But I will continue my work even if I am afraid. This is not a sign of some bravery. It is just I cannot see myself live a different life. It has been a long time since I have completely removed the "and" in "life and activity/work" without even knowing it. Those who cannot keep silent will continue to speak up. With love to all people with dignity!"

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