VIDEO: Recently released Azerbaijani opposition politician intends to come to power
The leader of the REAL opposition party Ilgar Mammadov held his first press conference since his release from prison after having served five and a half years.
Mammadov was sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison on charges of organizing riots in Ismayilli in the north of Azerbaijan and resisting police. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in May 2014 that his arrest was in violation of several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and demanded his release. Mammadov was subsequently let out on parole in early August. Some associated this with Angela Merkel’s visit to Baku which was expected later that month.
Mammadov promised to hold a press conference immediately upon his release, but a few complications arose. Not one venue, including Azerbaijan’s official press centre, was willing to host the event. As a result, the press conference was held at REAL party’s Baku office in a small room that could barely fit those in attendance. Most of the media present were independent journalists who are usually not allowed at government events.
He made the following noteworthy statements:
- He will seek fair punishment for the nineteen judges who unfairly sentenced him;
- For the first three years he was subjected to constant psychological pressure and transferred from one place of imprisonment to another;
- The REAL party will come to power, perhaps as a result of early elections;
- Azerbaijan has adopted European values from Russia, and REAL is ready to cooperate with progressive Russian political forces;
- Karabakh may be returned if Azerbaijan is made attractive for Karabakh Armenians;
- Azerbaijan should not become an instrument of Russia’s foreign policy because the most that will be achieved in this case may be a few successes, but it will ultimately result in another April War.
Ilgar Mammadov also provided an analysis of Azerbaijan’s economic performance over the past five years and claimed that the current government is incompetent.