String of scandalous lawsuits in Azerbaijan over prohibited wedding
News about three scandalous lawsuits spread almost simultaneously in Azerbaijan yesterday, united all by the same starting point – the wedding of the granddaughter of the former head of the presidential administration, Ramiz Mehdiyev, which took place in Baku last year despite the Covid-19 regulations prohibiting it.
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One of the lawsuits concerns a member of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, MP Siyavush Novruzov vs the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The second involves a former head of the presidential administration of Azerbaijan and an acting president of the Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Ramiz Mehdiyev vs 15 MPs, and, finally, the third is one between a former director of ANAS and the same Ramiz Mehdiyev.
The first two lawsuits are directly related to the aforementioned wedding of the granddaughter of Ramiz Mehdiyev, who for many years was considered the ‘grey cardinal’ of Azerbaijan.
Mehdiyev’s granddaughter’s wedding was held at a time when weddings and other public events were banned across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scandal erupted after videos and photos from the wedding appeared on social media. The bride’s father, Ramiz Mehdiyev’s son-in-law, and several other people were sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest and many of the guests were fined.
After this incident, Ramiz Mehdiyev lost his already tenuous position, but almost immediately was elected to be the president of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. Having only just taken up his new role, Mehdiyev published an article on the academy’s official website in which he threatened 16 MPs who had allegedly ‘slandered’ and ‘ insulted’ him with legal proceedings.
Ramiz Mehdiyev vs MPs
Soon after being published, this article disappeared from the academy’s website, and the media also rushed to remove it from their news feeds.
Despite the fact that Mehdiyev threatened 16 MPs in his letter, the lawsuit, according to the source, involved 15 MPs. So far, the President of ANAS himself has not yet confirmed this information.
One of the MPs involved in Mehdiyev’s lawsuit – the chairman of the pro-government Ana Veten party Fazail Agamali, noted that he could neither confirm nor deny anything: “I have not received a notification yet. I am ready to participate in the trial on the claim of Ramiz Mehdiyev. Let’s see what it requires, what it wants”.
MP vs Ministry
Siyavush Novruzov’s lawsuit against the Interior Ministry is also directly related to the wedding of Mehdiyev’s granddaughter. Among those fined for participating in the ceremony were the MP Novruzov himself and his wife, as well as the ombudsman Sabina Aliyeva.
Novruzov believes that the Ministry of Internal Affairs violated his parliamentary immunity with this fine. Novruzov believes that the existing law prevents members of parliament from being punished during quarantine, and he can go wherever he wants.
“I will not back down on this issue, I will not compromise. I’ll go to the European court. I will not allow anyone to treat me like that. Those who have broken the law will be held responsible. I demand 400,000 manat [approximately $235,300] in compensation which I will then distribute among the families of those killed in the Karabakh war”, Novruzov said.
However, as soon as Novruzov’s statement was spread in the media, Novruzov hurried to refute it. Novruzov said that he was taking his demand back and he even went on to ask the journalists “not to interfere with politics”.
Director of Geoscience and Agrochemistry Institute vs Ramiz Mehdiyev
After being elected president of the Academy of Sciences, Ramiz Mehdiyev dismissed Aliovsat Quliyev, director of the Institute of Geosciences and Agrochemistry at ANAS. Instead, Qarib Mammadov, the former head of the National Committee for Land and Cartography, was appointed to the post of head of the institute.
Quliev claims that he was removed from office while he was on sick leave.