Youth activists arrest is already causing problems

The after- effects are spreading to the international arena

R Gabiboglu

The UN plenary session has discussed the report on human rights violation in Azerbaijan, and in particular, the arrest of two bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Abdullayev (Milli).

Azerbaijani Diaspora told Turan agency that the report was submitted by the South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders. The document states on the serious threat to the freedom of speech and violation of the reporters’ rights and freedoms. In particular, a serious concern is expressed regarding the arrest of the bloggers A Hajizada and E Milli last week.

This document will be also discussed at the 96th session of UN Commission on Human Rights. Besides the human rights violation in Azerbaijan, the report also mentions the attempts of the authorities to exert pressure on western diplomats who express their concerns. The authors of the report ask UN to take these facts into consideration and warn Azerbaijan about inadmissibility of such “disgraceful” actions as the arrest of the bloggers.

At its session on the 20th of July UN Commission will discuss the problems of political and civil human rights in Azerbaijan, Chad, Tanzania and Ecuador.

Also, 13 members of the UK House of Commons signed an appeal to the Azerbaijan government expressing “deep concern on rapidly deteriorating state of human rights issue in the country.”

Murad Gasanli, an activist of the Azerbaijani Diaspora in London, told Turan agency that the appeal was initiated by the members of Azerbaijan democracy support informal group. The appeal was made after the meeting of the members of the House of Commons with the representatives of Azerbaijani youth living in the UK.

On the 14th of July the document was officially submitted to the House of Commons, and on the 15th of July, the petition was signed by 13 parliamentarians. According to the procedure, the petition will be sent to the UK Foreign Office to be further submitted to official Baku. The petition condemns the attack on youth activists and calls for the Azerbaijan authorities to stop prosecution of people because of the political reasons, immediately liberate the journalists and arrested bloggers, resume the broadcasting of western radio channels.

It has also become known that official London asked the UK Embassy to closely follow the situation.

Meantime, Jeykhun Osmanli, the leader of “Ireli” public union, states that “interference of other people who are unaware of the process will complicate the case.” Speaking to Azeri Press Agency, Osmanli expressed his attitude to various comments on the arrest of A Hajizada and E Milli. Osmanli stated that some people try to use this case in order to gain political dividends and increase their social influence. “Some idle opposition parties, using this situation, try to go ahead of the process, increase their influence among the youth, and promote themselves manipulating with the names of young people who are now detained.”

In addition, some foreign media organizations have allegedly found an opportunity to carry out anti-Azerbaijan campaigns. Clear evidence is the article in "New York Times" newspaper, published on the 14th of July and based on the comments of Armenian journalist Olesya Vartanyan who works in Georgia.

In any case such development of events will only harm Adnan and Emin. Naturally, we don’t want either Emin or Adnan, or any other young Azerbaijani be arrested.

The investigation is going on now. We believe in its justice and hope that a fair decision will be taken. That’s why I think that there are chances for Adnan and Emin to be released from prison. In any case, this should be solved within, but not outside of, Azerbaijan.” Osmanli also mentioned that he does not understand the position of the diplomatic corps. “I am not clear about the direct interference of the embassies of foreign countries. What and whom do they want to tell? If they want to tell about the internal situation to the Azerbaijani themselves, then I think it is absolutely unnecessary because we are well aware and follow the developments closely. And if any foreign country uses the language of pressure when speaking to Azerbaijan, then this is lack of respect to any person who considers themselves an Azerbaijani. Let me bring you an example. Many foreign embassies refuse to issue a visa to Azerbaijani citizens with no solid grounds and refuse to comment on this. For example, a number of Azerbaijani were invited to voluntarily participate in the Olympics which are to be started in Finland in three days. But the Embassy of Norway which was obliged to issue visas refused to do so, despite the numerous requests from Finland. The same is true about other embassies in Azerbaijan. The question is being arisen: if these embassies are interested in the rights of the Azerbaijanis, then why are they so disrespectful to our people? I’d like to note one more fact: in some embassies the announcements and forms are written in other languages, but not Azerbaijani. Why don’t they respect our language and our laws if they are concerned about Azerbaijan? There are many such examples. All I want to say is that each organization should function as per their mandates.” Osmanli also noted that making the “politicised” damages Azerbaijan and Adnan and Emin in particular. “We should stay vigilant on this issue.”

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