Repression in the time of pandemic: Azerbaijani opposition members arrested “for violating quarantine”
Members of the Azerbaijani opposition Popular Front Party have been sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention on the charge of “violating the rules of quarantine,” reports MeydanTV.
Exactly which rules were violated is unclear, but not long before this, APFP member Anar Melikov wrote a post on his Facebook page criticizing the conditions in the hospital where people are being quarantined.
65 coronavirus cases and up to a month in detention “in special cases”
Official statistics published on March 23 state that there are 65 reported cases of coronavirus in Azerbaijan. One patient has died, and ten have recovered. Several hundred people are in quarantine, but the exact number is not reported.
On March 17, Azerbaijan introduced punishments for violation of hygiene and quarantine rules. Basically, these are fines, but it is stipulated that “for certain cases, taking into account the identity of the person who committed the violation, people may be subject to one month of detention.”
And if the consequences are serious, the offender can face up to three years in prison.
Quarantine in Jalilabad – a place where no one wants to end up
Anar Melikov is an activist and member of a regional branch of the Popular Front Party from the city of Jalilabad, in the south of the country. This city contains one of the hospitals where they are quarantining Azerbaijani citizens who have returned from abroad.
There are constant complaints about the terrible conditions there, including that they are unsanitary, there is a lack of water, and poor nutrition. These complaints are supported by photographs and videos. Because of this, the inhabitants of Azerbaijan are more afraid of being quarantined than of becoming infected.
The authorities regularly report that the conditions in quarantine are completely fine.
Student Nigar Mubariz, who was quarantined after returning from Turkey, also complained about the conditions of confinement in the Jalilabad hospital the day before. Because of this, the girl was harassed by pro-government “trolls” on social networks.
Soon after, police and local government officials visited her in the hospital. In a recent Facebook post, Nigar said that after she voiced her complaints to officials, the hospital administration began to “swiftly clean up.”