Azerbaijani student activist arrested for 15 days after demanding semester tuition, exams be cancelled due to pandemic
A group of students and activists protested in front of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education building on June 1 demanding that the payment and summer exam for this past semester be cancelled due to the quarantine regulations.
As a result, one of them was arrested for 15 days, and several others were fined 100-200 manat [about $58-118].
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All educational institutes in Azerbaijan switched to distance education at the end of March due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantine.
However, since the country has not yet established a system of online education, the quality of the classes was somewhat below par. However, students must still pay for this semester and pass summer exams.
The student organization “Tələbə tələbi” (“Student demand”) decided to appeal to the ministry. A second-year student at Baku State University, Rustam Ismailbeyli, made an appointment, and at the scheduled time, came to the ministry with several more members of this organization. Several other civic and political activists accompanied them, including former political prisoner Qiyas Ibrahimov, who, after his release from prison, was not allowed to continue his studies.
Three students were brought to the premises of the Museum of Education, which is located within the ministry building. The ministry’s press service said on Facebook that officials spoken to them, discussed their concerns, and released them.
It was soon revealed, however, that Rustam Ismailbeyli was arrested for 15 days on charges of violating the quarantine regime, and several of his fellow students were fined. Students organized a campaign on social networks to pay these fines, suggesting that everyone who wants to chips in 1 manat [$0.58].
This arrest caused a huge stir on social media. Many are outraged and ashamed by the actions of the authorities, saying that by arresting politically-active youth, they are raising a generation of their future enemies.