Four more activists in one day" />

New arrests in Baku

Four more activists in one day

The arrests of political activists in Baku continue. Natik Jafarov, an opposition activist, was arrested late at night on August 14, only to be followed by four other young activists on August 15.

Arrest or abduction?

Elshad Gasimov and Togrul Ismayilov, members of the “ReAl movement, were detained around 8 p.m.

Rasul Jafarov, a human rights activist, claims that Gasimov was detained by men in plain clothes near the “Icherisheher metro station.

Citing relatives, Jafarov recalled that forty minutes prior to his disappearance, Gasimov had called his brother and told him that he was about to switch off his phone since he was being followed.

Ismailov disappeared around that time.

Neither their families nor their lawyers have any information on their whereabouts.

Around 10 p.m. Jafarov stated, “Their friends and human rights activists are searching for them. We visited the city police department, the Narimanov and the Khatai Courts and plan to go to other places. If it were not for their acquaintances who happened to witness the arrests, we would have been unaware of their abductions. Neither their families, friends, nor lawyers were informed of their whereabouts.

Around midnight, Gasymov and Ismailov were found at police station №9.

Earlier in the day on August 15, two others were detained.

Human rights activist and former political prisoner Bashir Suleimanov
was the first to spread the news around about Elgiz Gahramanly of the “NIDA movement. According to Suleimanov, the activist was brought to the Nariman District Court and sentenced to four months in prison for drug possession (article 234).

Earlier that day Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, another former political prisoner and civil activist, had been detained. He told the “Turan news agency, that the day before his car had been removed without explanation.  He was beaten by a policeman and his clothes were ruined when he tried to find out the reason. Since then, his phone has been switched off. According to Adam Mamedov, Hajiyev’s lawyer, he is being charged with an act of minor hooliganism. The lawyer demanded the records of surveillance cameras to be presented, which is expected to be done tomorrow.

Prior to that, Natik Jafarli, a “ReAl movement Board member, had been arrested during the night of August 13. He was later sentenced to 4 months in prison for illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power. As of August 15, Javad Javadov, Jafarli’s lawyer has failed to obtain permission to see him. “The Prosecutor General Office has broken the presumption of innocence by releasing a statement saying Jafarli had confessed.

Natik Jafarli is the deputy to the “ReAl leader Ilgar Mammadov, who has already spent four years in prison.

The official version

The official media spread the Prosecutor General Office’s statement giving the news a tendentious title. The statement says, “Natik Jafarli has confessed, and with the help and assistance of his friend Ilgar Mamedov he appropriated grants and used them in order to fill his own pockets.

On the same day (August 15) another statement was released by the Prosecutor General Office. It says that from now on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, named by the Turkish authorities as the organizer of the coup, are subject to prosecution. “In order to prevent illegal activities on the part of the terrorist organization led by Futhallah Gulen, the Prosecutor General Office has brought up a criminal case citing the corresponding article in the law, Eldar Sultanov, the General Prosecutor Office’s press secretary told RIA. At the same time, haqqin.az, which is loyal to the authorities, called Elgiz Gahramanly, also under arrest, and Ali Keremli, the opposition PNFA leader, followers of Gulen.

Haqqin.az also made an effort to publish a piece containing criticism of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Judging by the style of the publication, the conflict between Hajiyev and the traffic policemen had been so serious that the author spent some time thinking of the “criminal’s motives and his personal qualities.

“In fact, all of them were arrested because of their political and civil activity, and the charges brought against them are just a pretext, Rasul Jafarov stated. He considers the “ReAl campaign against the constitutional changes to be voted on at the September 26 referendum to be another reasons for the arrests.

Social media users’ reactions

“I remember the officials on TV back in 1991 before the March referendum on the continuation of the USSR, who were unable to pronounce the word calling it “referendurum instead. I felt like joining the “ReAl movement immediately afterwards.

In reply to the post above:

“The only “Real worth joining is Real Madrid.  All the others are made up.

There are those, for sure, who expressed their support for the arrested activists, but they are only their circles of colleagues and friends.

Elshan Gasymov brought to the Sabail District Court. Photo by Elkin Khalilov

Published on 16.08.2016

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