A suspect has been arrested, though locals believe a construction company is behind the crime
The trunks of ten pines were drenched with a chemical substance, presumably acid, on Sharifzade Street in the outskirts of Baku. This is not the first case regarding trees being illegally removed in the Azerbaijani capital, though in the past trees were simply cut down.
Strange bottles lying under the trees were spotted by locals who called the Ministry of Ecology.
A criminal case has been opened under Article 260.2 – the destruction of forests and green spaces using methods dangerous to the public. A suspect by the name of Real Goyushov has been arrested.
Irada Ibrahimova, a representative of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, informed 1news that soil samples were sent for analysis to identify the substance in an attempt to save the affected trees.
Residents of neighbouring houses say that a construction company tried to cut down the same trees about a year ago in order to start construction on the site. However, locals prevented it at the time.
One video shows a local man venting his anger: “What scoundrel did this to the trees?! They are the same people who came here [previously] and wanted to cut them down. They were not allowed to do this [back then], so they returned [now],” he says.
Tree felling in Azerbaijan is illegal and is considered an administrative crime for which individuals are fined 2 000 manat (about USD 1 184), and legal entities up to 15 000 manats (about USD 8 876). However, the fine is expected to increase three-fold soon as the trees continue to fall.