"Our lives are always in danger anyways" interview with well-known Azerbaijani activist Qiyas Ibrahimov - video
Qiyas Ibrahimov is an activist and former political prisoner. He was the only Azerbaijani activist who reacted to the excessive measures used by police against quarantine violators.
On June 9, Ibrahimov staged a solitary protest on the roof of his house and was arrested, but the next day he was released home, and a little later he was made to pay a symbolic fine.
Why a solitary protest?
Although there are now only few of us, we could attract other activists. This would be more effective, at least from a technical point of view. But, in general, I do not want to put other people at risk. That is why it is easier to simply take the responsibility on myself.
On the risks associated with protests
Our lives are already at risk. Our state hangs constantly above us, like a sword of Damocles, and every moment we feel the danger emanating from power.
There are some situations where you cannot remain silent, when the authorities are oppressing you or other people. Then your fear is overcome by anger, by the need to protest, and you don’t think about whether what you are doing is dangerous or not. When the authorities can do anything they want to you any time, suddenly protests don’t seem so dangerous.
On the current situation in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is experiencing an economic crisis, which has also led to a political one. During these kinds of situations, governments in countries such as ours increase the pressure they put on society.
The relationship between the people and the government is already poor; they are connected only through fear. The government is now trying to exacerbate this fear in order to strengthen communication. Because of this, they have stretched the last vestiges of loyalty that the people had towards the authorities and the police to the limit. This may end badly for both the public and the authorities.
On the roof protest
I knew that the police would come. They came straight to people’s houses because of statuses they wrote on Facebook, and I was shouting through a loudspeaker and holding a poster. And they did come. Of course, I was not going to jump from the roof, as the authorities are trying to claim.
When I was detained, and then released a day later and told to go to court, I thought that maybe after the trial they would put me under administrative detention. But I was released, and just sentenced to a symbolic fine. Apparently, they realized that they couldn’t gain anything from arresting me.
At the time, the public’s animosity towards the authorities was continuing to grow after the incident in Yeni Yasamal. Everyone spoke about the protests. Perhaps they let me go so that everything would calm down.
I had to do something, even though it was a small act. People must have this mindset, they must be politicized in order to raise their voice against the autocratic repressive regime and police atrocities.