Creeping out for a funeral – a new type of crime in Azerbaijan amid coronavirus epidemic
Since the restriction on the movement of citizens was introduced on April 5 in Azerbaijan, a new type of offense has appeared: people are coming up with all kinds of tricks to bypass quarantine.
The most popular of these methods are fictional funerals and forged SMS permission.
Every day, dozens of people are detained because of this.
According to official data, as of the morning of April 14, in Azerbaijan 1,148 cases of infection with the coronavirus COVID-19 were recorded. 12 people died, 289 were cured.
To the store – and back!
According to the new rules, in order to leave the house, most residents of Azerbaijan need to first send an sms to the number “8103”, indicate the number of their identification card and explain why they need to exit.
There are only three options: visiting a doctor, visiting a store / pharmacy / bank / post office or the funeral of a close relative. In response, an SMS will be sent with the permission that residents need to show a policeman if stopped on the street.
For violations, people can be fined or even arrested.
You can receive permission to go outside only once a day. Moreover, only two hours are given to visit the doctor or go to a store, and in the case of a funeral, a time limit is not specified.
The authorities claim that these measures are fully justified by the fight against the spread of coronavirus and that it is impossible to force people to stay at home in any other way.
But many residents believe that they have been driven into too strict a framework.
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A suspicious number of funerals
Since the new restriction has come into force, about 3,000 people have already received permission to go outside to attend a funeral for a close relative. Government agencies suspected fraud.
Inspections have shown that often either there is no funeral at all, or it is not a funeral of a close relative.
Over the past day, 50 people were detained for this falsification and fined 100 manat [about $59] each.
The second common way to circumvent bans is to fake SMS permission. This is usually used when the daily two-hour limit has already been exhausted, but somebody still wants to go outside.
One of these forgers – a young man named Nail Yagubov – not only got the hang of faking permissions using a special computer program, but also boasted about it on social media and groups on WhatsApp. He was imprisoned for 25 days, and users of social media were disappointed – how could he be caught in such a silly manner.
At present, Azerbaijan has declared a strict quarantine regime – the metro, parks, squares, almost all commercial facilities, organizations and enterprises are closed.
People over 65 are generally not allowed to leave the house.
Moreover, the country has not yet declared an official state of emergency.