Azerbaijani politician arrested on suspicion of counterfeiting
Case of Gubad Ibadoglu
An opposition politician, economist, teacher of the British School of Economics Gubad Ibadoglu has been arrested in Azerbaijan on charges of counterfeiting. He denies the allegations. Relatives and representatives of civil society consider the arrest of the oppositionist ordered and related to his political activities.
- Azerbaijani journalists address Council of Europe on National Press Day
- Construction boom in Yerevan, prohibitively high housing prices will remain for the time being
- Russia to open Georgian-Russian university in Tbilisi – head of Primakov Center in Georgia
On July 23 the head of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (APDB), Gubad Ibadoglu, was detained on the Novkhani-Sumgayit road when he was on his way to meet with young representatives of his party. His wife, Irada Bayramova, was also detained. This was announced in social networks by the daughter of the politician, Zhalya Bayramova.
A few hours later Irada Bayramova was released, and she stated that she and her husband had been physically abused during their detention. There are bruises on her body. According to Bayramova, they beat her on her neck and kicked her legs.
Zhalya Bayramova said that no one was allowed to see her father, not even a lawyer, and his relatives were very worried about him.
“He is not given medicines and change of clothes. At the time of his arrest, he did not have the medicines he needed. My father has diabetes, he has hypertension, he must take medication periodically. Recently, he also took medicine for diseases of the internal organs. Without these medicines, the father may simply die,” Bayramova said.
“This is on the order of Ilham Aliyev”
On the night of July 23-24, a search was conducted in the office and apartment of Ibadoglu, and $40,000 were allegedly found there.
After the search was completed, the politician was taken out of his office, while police covered Ibadoglu’s face with a black veil.
To the reporters’ question “why were you arrested?” Ibadoglu managed to briefly answer: “This is on the order of Ilham Aliyev.”
A sentence of 8 to 12 years
On the same night, Gubad Ibadoglu was brought to the investigation as a suspect in the commission of actions under Art. 204.1 (manufacturing for the purpose of sale, as well as the acquisition or sale of counterfeit money or foreign currency) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. This was also reported by his daughter Zhalya.
According to her, Ibadoglu is being kept in the basement of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GUBOP) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
And on June 24, it became known the investigation had aggravated the accusation against the opposition politician, incriminating him under article 204.3.1 (the same actions committed by an organized group) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.
The investigative body submitted a submission to the Narimanov District Court on the election of a preventive measure in the form of arrest against Ibadoglu, lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova said. The court sentenced him to 4 months of pre-trial detention.
If under Art. 204.1 Ibadoglu was threatened with a punishment of 5 to 7 years in prison, then according to Art. 204.3.1 – from 8 to 12 years.
Interior Ministry says Ibadoglu suspected of links with FETÖ
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan has released a message stating that Gubad Ibadoglu is suspected of having links with FETÖ, a terrorist organization declared in Turkey, which is allegedly headed by US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, based on information received from the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs, an operation was carried out against persons associated with FETÖ, and five people were detained. One of them testified to his connections with Ibadoglu.
“Based on these testimonies, Ibadoglu’s office was searched, documents of relevance to the case were found, and Ibadoglu was detained. Currently, the activities are ongoing,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted.
The reason for the detention of Gubad Ibadoglu was the testimony of a certain Anar Aliyev, one of the detainees in the FETÖ case, who stated that the politician “gave him dollars.” This was reported to journalists by lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova.
“Ibadoglu does not know a certain Anar Aliyev”
According to the lawyer, Ibadoglu denies these allegations. “He said that he did not know such a person as Anar Aliyev at all,” Sadigova said.
The lawyer specified that the searches were carried out in the office and in the apartment of Ibadoglu, where he did not live. Money in the amount of 40,000 dollars was found in the apartment. However, Ibadoglu said that the money had nothing to do with him, and the apartment in which the search was carried out was only registered in his name.
“Gubad Ibadoglu has not lived in Azerbaijan for a long time. He just arrived in the country. This money has nothing to do with Gubad Ibadoglu. We protested and wrote our comments in the protocol,” the lawyer said.
Ibadoglu’s brother, Galib Bayramov, said that on the morning of July 23 he could not open one of the locks of the indicated apartment and enter. “There are two locks on the doors. The top one is open, but the bottom one is not. I called and informed Gubad. He said that he would come in the afternoon. I thought that maybe I have a duplicate key, so it jams.
I believe that money was planted in the apartment in advance to substantiate the criminal charge. Gubad has nothing to do with FETÖ. Gubad is a man who loves his homeland, a worthy citizen who tries for the good of the country.”
“The case is in the Azerbaijani Youth Education Foundation”
Ibadoglu, in addition to his political activities, is also an economist. He has lived abroad and taught at universities such as Rutgers University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In recent years he has spoken out with sharp criticism of the authorities, and in particular for the violation of human rights and corruption.
Recently, Ibadoglu established himself in the UK, together with the head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, Professor Jamil Hasanli, and former diplomat Arif Mammadov, who is in political emigration in Europe, the “Azerbaijani Youth Education Fund”.
Ibadoglu came up with an initiative to confiscate the property of Azerbaijani officials abroad and transfer these funds to this fund.
Gubadoglu wrote about the mission of the foundation on his Facebook page on July 11. After that, all three began to be attacked on pro-government Internet resources.
“Gubadoglu is being punished for his political activities”
Civil society activists and opposition politicians in Azerbaijan condemned the persecution by the authorities of the chairman of the Democracy and Prosperity Party (APDB) Gubad Ibadoglu.
The criminal prosecution of Gubad Ibadoglu is political in nature, Rufat Safarov, director of the human rights organization Line of Defense, believes.
“Gubad Ibadoglu is a prominent scientist and economist who has been criticizing the government’s socio-economic policy for many years. At the same time, he is the leader of one of the main opposition parties,” Safarov said.
He questioned the authenticity of the Interior Ministry’s allegations against Ibadoglu.
“Ibadoglu’s connection with FETÖ and the ‘discovery’ of $40,000 during a search are absurd allegations. Ibadoglu is an educated person, an intellectual, he would never get involved in crime, and even more so, knowing that he could be under surveillance. We will closely monitor the process,” the human rights activist said.
Chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) Ali Karimli also believes that the arrest of the well-known politician and scientist Ibadoglu is an “act of political repression.”
“The authorities must finally stop repressions against the opposition,” Karimli wrote on Facebook.
Chairman of the National Council of Democratic Forces Jamil Hasanli called the arrest of Ibadoglu “a shameful step of the regime.”
“Gubad Ibadoglu is one of the brightest intellectuals and public and political figures of the country. Professor Ibadoglu is the leader of the movement for democracy and prosperity, he is a scientist of world renown. He is a professor at the London School of Economics, Duke and Rutgers Universities in the USA. He represented the country at the most prestigious international economic events. He was the only representative of Azerbaijan’s civil society in the International Extractive Industries Transparency Coalition while the country was a member of this organization.
The detention of Gubad Ibadoglu by the police is just a disgrace. Regardless of what the authorities invent, what happened is undoubtedly connected with the opposition political position of Ibadoglu and his critical speeches on BİZ-TV (YouTube channel, on which Ibdaoglu regularly speaks on socio-political and socio-economic issues).”