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CrisisWatch Database

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Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jun 2016

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Supreme Court 25 May unexpectedly ordered release of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, jailed Dec 2014 and sentenced to seven and a half years on embezzlement and tax evasion charges in case widely believed to be politically motivated and which elicited international condemnation; U.S., EU and rights groups welcomed release, however over 80 political prisoners believed to remain behind bars.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 May 2016

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Rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus, jailed on fraud charges widely believed to be politically motivated and released late 2015 due to poor health, sought asylum in Netherlands after being permitted to leave Azerbaijan. U.S. State Dept’s human rights report criticised govt crackdown on civil society. Leak of data on offshore holdings by global elites included high-level Azerbaijani officials, implying high level corruption.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Apr 2016

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Baku court 15 March sentenced opposition adviser Mammad Ibrahim to three years’ prison on hooliganism charges; Ibrahim said charges politically motivated. Thirteen human rights/opposition activists among 148 prisoners released as part of presidential amnesty 17 March; EU and OSCE called for release of remaining political prisoners. Journalist Rauf Mirkadirov, jailed in Dec 2015 for spying, in case he said was politically motivated, also released early. Supreme Court 28 March commuted sentence of human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev, convicted in 2015 on charges including tax evasion. Azerbaijan held joint air force exercises with Turkey during month.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Mar 2016

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FM Elmar Mammadyarov 3 Feb said Azerbaijan holding talks with Russian and Turkish officials in bid to mend their deteriorated bilateral relations.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Feb 2016

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Following Dec currency depreciation caused by falling energy prices, protests broke out in several districts 13 Jan over mounting economic difficulties including unemployment, price increases; scores of people including opposition activists reportedly arrested, mostly in Siyazan, where military units were deployed. Security forces dispersed protest in Quba district in NE 15 Jan. Currency continued to depreciate; govt 14 Jan closed down private currency exchange businesses. Parliament 19 Jan approved measures aimed at curbing crisis; IMF and World Bank discussing possible assistance package.

Azerbaijan

  |  4 Jan 2016

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Rights activist Leyla Yunus released early from jail on medical grounds after serving a year of sentence on charges including fraud, tax evasion. Journalist Rauf Mirkadirov sentenced to six years’ jail 28 Dec on charges of spying for Armenia; lawyer said charges politically motivated. Council of Europe launched official inquiry into Azerbaijan’s compliance with European Convention on Human Rights. Authorities conducted further raid on Shiite settlement Nardaran outside Baku 1 Dec, several reportedly detained. Prominent opposition figure Fuad Qahramanli arrested in Baku 8 Dec, charges include publicly calling for overthrow of govt; lawyer said arrest linked to social media comments about Nardaran raid. Manat fell 48% against dollar 21 Dec after central bank abandoned currency peg.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2015

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Ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) awarded 85% of votes in 1 Nov parliamentary elections, winning 69 out of 125 seats in parliament. Voter turnout 56%; main opposition parties boycotted vote. OSCE refused to send observers. Govt released rights activist Arif Yunus from jail 12 Nov for medical reasons; Yunus not allowed to leave Baku. Four Shiite Muslims and two police killed in clash in Nardaran settlement NE of Baku 26 Nov; fourteen arrested, interior ministry statement said to neutralise armed group seeking to organise mass unrest.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 Nov 2015

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President Aliyev dismissed long-serving National Security Minister Eldar Mahudov; days later, authorities arrested seven National Security Ministry officials, accused them of abuse of power. OSCE refused to send observers to monitor 1 Nov elections, saying Baku sought to impose too many restrictions.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2015

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Amid international condemnation of ongoing govt crackdown on civil society, Baku court 1 Sept sentenced investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to 7.5 years’ jail on embezzlement and tax evasion charges, in trial widely believed to be politically motivated. UN human rights chief 8 Sept condemned verdict, EU lawmakers 10 Sept passed resolution calling for Ismayilova’s release. Govt 11 Sept cancelled European Commission delegation visit to Baku, said will review its relations with EU.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Sep 2015

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Death of young man in police custody 21 Aug sparked protests in Mingachevir. Rights activists Arif and Leyla Yunus sentenced 13 Aug to seven-eight years’ jail for fraud and tax evasion; international rights groups condemned verdicts as political.

Azerbaijan

  |  3 Aug 2015

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Baku court 30 July sentenced high-ranking opposition member Asif Yusifli to 7.5 years’ jail for fraud and forgery; Yusifli denied charges, said verdict politically motivated. Baku court 1 July sentenced nine people to between four and 15 years’ jail for joining Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL).

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jul 2015

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Ahead of European Games’ opening 12 June, govt refused entry to foreign rights groups and journalists: Amnesty International, Guardian among those barred from country until games end. OSCE 5 June reported govt gave it one month to close office in country. Amid ongoing govt repression, Emin Huseynov, rights activist wanted on tax evasion charges, flew to Switzerland 13 June after months of negotiations between govt and Swiss embassy, where Huseynov had been evading prosecution since Aug 2014. UN special rapporteur 2 June criticised govt’s ongoing repression of activists, called for immediate release of jailed rights defenders.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jun 2015

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Clampdown on opposition continued ahead of June European Olympics in Baku. Baku court 14 May extended journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s pretrial detention despite rights organisations’ calls for her release; court 6 May sentenced leading opposition figure Faradj Kerimli to six and a half years’ prison on drugs charges; Kerimli’s lawyer said charges fabricated. European Parliament VP 12 May called on govt to release jailed activists.

Azerbaijan

  |  30 Apr 2015

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Amid ongoing condemnation of govt crackdown on opponents, rights activist Rasul Jafarov sentenced 16 April to 6.5 years’ prison for tax evasion and illegal entrepreneurship, human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev sentenced 22 April to 7.5 years’ prison on similar charges; rights groups said verdicts politically motivated. Alliance of human rights and sports NGOs 7 April called on European Olympic Committees to condemn govt crackdown ahead of first European Olympic Games to be held in Baku in June.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Apr 2015

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Baku court 6 March extended pretrial detention of jailed journalist Khadija Ismayilova to 24 May. Ahead of inaugural European Games being hosted by country in June, Amnesty International 4 March issued report denouncing govt crackdown on civil society. Govt freed three activists as part of 18 March pardon ahead of New Year holiday Nowrouz. EU progress report 25 March critical of “regression in the democratic transition process”, situation for civil society organisations, detentions of rights activists. Authorities 4 March reported arrest of six men suspected of planning terrorist acts; also arrested four men suspected of recruiting people to fight in Syria.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 Mar 2015

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President Aliyev 3 Feb signed law facilitating media shutdowns. New charges brought against journalist Khadija Ismayilova, jailed since 5 Dec, including embezzlement, abuse of power, tax evasion and illegal entrepreneurship: court 23 Feb found Ismayilova guilty of libel, ordered fine. Court 5 Feb sentenced two men accused of spying for Iran to thirteen, fourteen years’ prison. Court 18 Feb extended pretrial detention of rights activist Leyla Yunus by five months to 28 July; 23 Feb extended detention of husband Arif Yunus by additional five months. Rights activist Emin Huseynov 11 Feb reportedly took refuge at Swiss embassy, said victim of political persecution. EU SR for human rights visited Baku 23 Feb. Central Bank 21 Feb devalued currency sparking fears of inflation.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 Feb 2015

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Authorities 7 Jan announced ten arrested on suspicion of fighting in Syria, taking part in other militant activities. President Aliyev 21 Jan met with German Chancellor Merkel, dismissed criticism of human rights record. Court 27 extended pretrial detention of RFE/RL journalist Khadija Ismayilova, detained 5 Dec on charges of inciting attempted suicide, by further two months. Journalist Seymur Hezi sentenced 29 Jan to five years’ prison for hooliganism. Man self-immolated 8 Jan in Baku, authorities denied rumours death linked to demolition of homes.

Azerbaijan

  |  5 Jan 2015

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U.S. 1 Dec said “increasingly concerned” over Baku’s record on human rights, restrictions on civil society, later in month said Baku’s crackdown threaten relations between countries. Court 5 Dec ordered investigative journalist with RFE/RL Khadija Ismayilova to be held in pre-trial detention two months on charges of pressing man to commit suicide. Authorities late month ransacked and shut down Baku office of RFE/RL, detained twelve journalists. Opposition held protest 14 Dec calling for release of political prisoners, amid reports of worsening health of jailed activist Leyla Yunus. President Aliyev 29 Dec pardoned 87 prisoners, including some considered political prisoners by rights groups.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2014

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Rights crackdown continued: second lawyer barred from defending jailed activist Leyla Yunis early Nov; blogger Mehman Huseynov detained at Baku airport 10 Nov, prevented from leaving country; rights activist Elcin Namazov sentenced to fifteen days’ jail 25 Nov for disobeying police. OSCE 10 Nov called on authorities to cease repression of independent media and rights activists. Thousands of opposition supporters 9 Nov protested against govt, demanded release of political prisoners, called for end to President Aliyev’s rule. Former deputy defence minister Mehman Salimov arrested late Nov on corruption charges. Iranian President Rouhani mid-Nov visited Baku, met with President Aliyev to discuss bilateral relations.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Nov 2014

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Rights crackdown continued: libel charges filed against journalist Khadija Ismayilova, prevented from leaving country 11 Oct; pretrial detention of rights activist Leyla Yunus extended 24 Oct to 28 Feb, lawyer 29 Oct reportedly barred from representing her, U.S. State Dept 16 Oct expressed concern over her health; journalist Khalid Garayev 30 Oct sentenced to 25 day detention on vulgarity charge. Rasul Jafarov, rights activist detained since 2 Aug, reportedly requested presidential pardon 16 Oct. U.S. State Dept 11 Oct said closure of NGO IREX in Azerbaijan would hurt democracy promotion efforts. CoE Thorbjørn Jagland 14 Oct called on authorities to release Ilgar Mammadov, detained since March 2013 for organising unrest. CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks 24 Oct urged govt to stop targeting human rights defenders. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) 15 Oct expressed deep concern over rights record, demanded early review of membership status by Jan 2015. Four opposition activists pardoned and released by President Aliyev; welcomed by EU as “positive first step”. Thousands of National Council of Democratic Forces opposition supporters rallied in Baku 12 Oct demanded govt resignation, end to repression of human rights defenders, closer integration with EU. Cooperation plan signed 13 Oct between Russian and Azerbaijani defence ministries.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2014

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Rights crackdown continued: U.S. citizen and former deputy chief of pro-opposition youth group Yeni Fikir deported 12 Sept, U.S. State Department expressed concern; Baku office of NGO IREX raided 5 Sept by Azerbaijani security officials; UN Human Rights team 17 Sept prevented from visiting govt detention centers while investigating complaints of torture. Criticism over rights record increased: CoE Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks 8 Sept criticised authorities over deteriorating human rights conditions; European Parliament 18 Sept adopted resolution condemning persecution of human rights defenders, calling for targeted sanctions, dismissed by Baku as “completely biased”; U.S. President Obama 23 Sept criticised crackdown on NGOs; Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) head 22 Sept said Azerbaijan might be suspended from initiative following investigation. CoE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President Anne Brasseur visited 23-25 Sept, called for broad dialogue between authorities, political actors, civil society. Authorities 23 Sept arrested 26 suspected of joining militants in Syria and Pakistan. Turkish President Erdogan PM Davutoğlu visited 2 Sept and 19 Sept respectively; joint Azerbaijan-Turkey military exercise held 13-20 Sept.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Sep 2014

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Repression of rights activists continued including: activist Rasul Jafarov detained 2 Aug on tax evasion and other charges; activist Intigam Aliyev arrested 8 Aug on same charges, reportedly jailed for 3 months. Arif Yunus sentenced to 3 months pre-trial detention following 30 July arrest on treason and fraud charges. Rights activist Ilgar Nasibov attacked 22 Aug by unknown assailants in Nakhichevan exclave; attack condemned by U.S. 28 Aug. Opposition journalist Seymur Hazi detained 29 Aug on hooliganism charges. Criticism over rights record dismissed 28 Aug by Azerbaijani PACE delegate Elkhan Suleymanov. HRW 14 Aug called for Azerbaijan’s suspension from Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Iran late month accused Azerbaijan of being base of Israeli drone Iran downed 26 Aug.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Aug 2014

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FM Elmar Mammadyarov 1-3 July visited China for trade and diplomatic talks. Crackdown on rights figures continued: opposition activist Omar Mamedov 4 July sentenced to 5 years prison on drug charges; Reporters Without Borders 11 July criticised trial as “politically manipulated”. Chairman of opposition Musavay party youth wing reportedly detained 23 July; prominent activists Leyla Yunus and husband Arif Yunus called in for questioning 30 July, reportedly charged with treason and other crimes. Jailings condemned by UK minister for Europe and other European bodies.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Rights crackdown continued: prominent activists Arif and Leyla Yunus prevented from leaving country to attend conference 10-11 June due to passport seizure in April. U.S. expressed serious concern. Baku dismissed criticism over rights record as biased and inaccurate. Govt 23 June dropped plans to introduce jury trials. EC President Barroso 14 June visited Baku to discuss Southern Gas Corridor. Russian FM Lavrov visited Baku 18 June, said Azerbaijan not formally invited to Customs Union or Eurasian Economic Union, but Moscow welcomes any interested partner.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jun 2014

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Azerbaijan assumed chairmanship of Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers amid criticism by some European officials over ongoing rights crackdown: court 6 May found 8 youth movement activists guilty of organising “mass disorders”, possessing weapons and illegal drugs, sentenced to 6-8 years jail; opposition journalist sentenced to 8 years jail 15 May. Chairman of election monitoring organisation Anar Mammadli sentenced 26 May to 5 ½ years jail for falsifying election results, tax evasion, illegal business activities; U.S. embassy said charges “highly questionable”.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 May 2014

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President Aliyev met with Iranian President Rouhani in Tehran 9 April in sign of improving relations, signed cooperation agreements including on hydropower plant construction. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights criticised authorities over deteriorating rights, basic freedoms. Prominent analyst and Turkey-based journalist from Zerkalo newspaper detained in Turkey late April, deported to Azerbaijan and charged with espionage for Armenia; had attended civil society meetings with Armenian counterparts. Prominent rights activist detained 28 April, later released.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Apr 2014

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Amid scrutiny of regional responses to Russian actions in Ukraine, President Aliyev 20 March reportedly said “a country’s territorial integrity cannot be changed without its agreement”. Court in N city Saki 17 March sentenced 2 leading opposition figures to 5 and 7 years’ prison for mass disorder over Jan 2013 unrest in Ismayili. 8 others jailed, 8 given suspended sentences. U.S. embassy said verdicts politically motivated, EU also critical.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Mar 2014

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During visit to Baghdad FM said Azerbaijan could ship Iraqi natural gas to Europe. New defence minister visited Brussels for talks with NATO 26 Feb on Azerbaijan’s role in Afghanistan mission. RFE/RL journalist questioned for “grave crimes” over allegations of passing “state secrets” to U.S. officials; U.S. embassy called charges “absurd”.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Feb 2014

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Musavat Party withdrew from National Council of Democratic Forces opposition alliance, established in 2013.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 Jan 2014

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Border officer killed in shoot-out along Iranian border 1 Dec, latest in sporadic incidents along border; countries’ relations strained over Baku’s charges of Iranian sponsorship of fundamentalist Islamists in Azerbaijan. Hundreds protested rising food, fuel prices 15 Dec; govt 2 Dec announced petrol price hike. Authorities arrested Anar Mammadli, head of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, questioned on tax evasion, illegal business activity. FM denounced U.S. criticism of rights issues as “blackmail”. 2 disabled Karabakh war veterans committed self-immolation 25, 28 Dec; first died.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2013

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President Aliyev visited Turkey in reaffirmation of political and military alliance with Ankara regarding conflict with Armenia and coordination on energy projects. Council of Europe human rights commissioner called on Azerbaijan to make progress on human rights reforms ahead of its chairmanship of body beginning May 2014, amid reports of continuing pressure and detention of some opposition journalists.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Nov 2013

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President Aliyev, in power since 2003, won third 5-year term in 9 Oct presidential election with 85% of vote; main opposition candidate Camil Hasanli received around 5%. Polls criticised by OSCE as “seriously flawed”, marred by “restrictive media environment”, allegations of intimidation; govt rejected “biased” report. U.S. said vote fell short of international standards. Opposition denounced vote as “fraudulent and illegitimate”. A few thousand opposition supporters rallied against result, also called for release of “political prisoners”, end to govt pressure on media. Ahead of vote, UN human rights agency expressed concern over “restrictive environment” faced by activists; EU also expressed concern over “continued pressure” on opposition activists, civil society, independent media; OSCE called situation “quite worrying”. Aliyev sworn in 19 Oct in unusually low key ceremony, replaced long-serving defence minister, more changes expected. Govt 21 Oct said no plans to join Russian-led Customs Union.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2013

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Ahead of 9 Oct presidential election Human Rights Watch warned of govt repression of opposition. Son of one opposition figure beaten and stabbed by unknown assailants 23 Sept; son of another opposition leader Ali Kerimli jailed; Kerimli cited attempt to put pressure on him over his political activities. Baku court sentenced editor of Talysh minority newspaper Tolisi Sado to 5 years’ prison for high treason, incitement of ethnic/religious/racial hatred, drugs possession. EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle said country needs to make reforms on rights to move forward in EU dialogue.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Sep 2013

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President Aliyev officially registered to run for 3rd term in 9 Oct presidential election as usually fractured opposition parties put forward united candidate. Electoral commission approved opposition National Council of Democratic Forces candidate professor Jamil Hasanli as candidate; Hasanli chosen as alternative candidate after Moscow-based playwright Rustam Ibrahimbayov turned down due to dual Russian-Azerbaijan citizenship.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Aug 2013

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Opposition groups 2 July nominated single candidate for Oct presidential election, who if victorious would stay in power for 2-year “transition period”. Govt said it would allow OSCE to observe election. 3 youth activists jailed for 15 days after distributing anti-govt stickers, leaflets.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jul 2013

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Ruling New Azerbaijan Party nominated incumbent second-term president Aliyev as its candidate in Oct 2013 presidential elections. Situation remains guarded as authorities mull possibility opposition may try to field united candidate for first time. Aliyev signed into law controversial bill criminalising so-called defamatory and offensive views posted online. Aliyev met with European Council President Van Rompuy for talks on energy, rights, Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jun 2013

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Azerbaijan protested after Iran 30 April arrested 2 Azerbaijani citizens, released 19 May. Visiting EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle 3 May said country must meet commitments on democracy, rights. OSCE 2 May criticised Azerbaijan for failing on its commitment to decriminalise defamation. Parliament 15 May controversially voted to tighten internet libel laws, prompting criticism from opposition, media rights groups.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 May 2013

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Opposition Azerbaijani Popular Front Party activist arrested and sentenced to 10 days’ jail for taking part in unapproved anti-govt protest in Baku. FM Mammadyarov visited Israel in latest sign of closer relations between secular Shiite Baku and Tel Aviv. 

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Apr 2013

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Police 10 March again violently dispersed several hundred demonstrators in Baku protesting deaths and alleged abuse of conscripts in military, in latest of series of unsanctioned protests on issue; 2 more conscripts died during month. Police detained several activists, charged 3 with drugs, weapons possession. Leader of opposition Musavat party beaten up by unknown assailants 14 March.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Mar 2013

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President Aliyev responded to Jan spontaneous unrest in Baku and Ismayili by removing region’s governor and warning local officials and their children against “obnoxious behaviour”; opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov and journalist Tofiq Yaqublu arrested and charged with organising Ismayili unrest, several others also detained. Prominent writer Akram Ailisli came under attack over novella Stone Dreams about ongoing war with Armenia, with officially-promoted burnings of his books in Baku. President Aliyev signed decree stripping Ailisli of honours, pension; wife and son fired from jobs.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Feb 2013

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Thousands protested in central town Ismayili 23, 24 Jan demanding resignation of local governor Nizami Alekberov and setting fire to cars, buildings; dozens arrested. Hundreds rallied in Baku 26 Jan in solidarity with Ismayili protesters; dozens of protesters arrested. Hundreds protested in Baku 12 Jan calling for resignation of defence minister over allegations of hazing and bullying in military following 7 Jan death of army conscript; 21 men fined for participating in demonstration under new law on mass gatherings. Around 1,000 shopkeepers protesting against rent increases clashed with police in Baku 19 Jan.

Azerbaijan

  |  30 Dec 2012

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After almost a year of negotiations, Azerbaijan and Russia 9 Dec allowed agreement on Gabala radar station, last Russian base in country, to lapse; Russia to withdraw its almost 1,000-strong contingent within a year, expected to relocate radar and missile shield to N Caucasus. Govt 26 Dec pardoned 2 jailed journalists, 1 blogger, several rights and opposition activists. Police forcibly dispersed dozens of opposition activists attending unsanctioned rally in Baku 10 Dec. Court 3 Dec found 4 men guilty of terrorism, high treason, for plotting bomb attacks ahead of Eurovision Song Contest and links with Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2012

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Chechen president Kadyrov met with President Aliyev and PM Rasizade during official visit to Baku aimed at attracting Azeri investment in Chechnya; also met with head of Muslim Administration of the Caucasus, discussed rise of religious extremism, suggesting possible future cooperation between Azerbaijan and Chechnya in fight against terrorism. Amid increasing concern over oppression of minorities and opposition, parliament adopted amendments to law on public gatherings increasing fines for unsanctioned demonstrations. Around 100 opposition activists protested in Baku 17 Nov. 4 suspects accused of planning terrorist attacks went on trial; accused of cooperating with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As Baku hosted UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum, visiting OSCE representative on freedom of media criticised govt crackdown on press freedom.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Nov 2012

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Court 9 Oct jailed 22 people convicted of plotting to kill foreign citizens, organising attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets; follows late Sept sentencing of 3 men for plotting to kill teachers at Jewish school. Suspects accused of links with Iranian special services. Following recent escalation in tensions with Iran, apparent rapprochement with 16 Oct meeting between President Aliyev and Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. Around 200 protesters clashed with police 5 Oct during demonstration against hijab ban in schools. Officials accused “external groups” of organising disturbances, but local Shiite group reportedly claimed responsibility. Late Sept arrest of activist Zaur Qurbanli criticised by rights activists.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2012

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Fallout continued from President Aliyev’s 31 Aug pardon of Ramil Safarov, convicted of murdering Armenian soldier during NATO training in Budapest in 2004, following his extradition from Hungary. In addition to pardon, Safarov promoted from lieutenant to major, awarded back pay and free apartment. Pardon heightened tensions with Armenia (see Nagorno-Karabakh) and provoked strong international condemnation including EU, U.S., NATO, UNHCHR. Iran released 2 Azerbaijani poets arrested in May for alleged espionage.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Sep 2012

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Muasir Musavat party leader Gadjiyev mid-month accused Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (AHCP) Chairman Kerimli of poisoning former Azerbaijani President Elchibey; Prosecutor General’s office opened investigation into “attempted murder”. Journalist 23 Aug found guilty of inciting March 2011 riots on Facebook, illegally crossing border; sentenced to 4.5 years jail. President Aliyev 31 Aug pardoned soldier convicted in Hungary of 2004 killing of Armenian army officer sparking diplomatic row.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Aug 2012

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Authorities 4 July charged ethnic Talysh newspaper editor Gilal Mamedov with treason for allegedly collaborating with Iranian intelligence. European Council President Van Rompuy 5 July met President Aliyev, called for improvement in civil, political rights. Former President Mutalibov 9 July returned to country following 2-decade exile in Russia.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jul 2012

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Month saw escalating clashes with Armenia. Tensions with Turkmenistan increased over Kapaz/Serdar oil field in Caspian Sea (see Turkmenistan). Police 12 June broke up opposition rally in Baku against legal amendments limiting access to information on govt financial and economic activities, arrested Republican Alternative (REAL) alliance co-chairman Ilgar Mammadov, activists. Parliament same day granted President Aliyev, wife immunity from criminal prosecution for acts committed in office. Pro-democracy blogger detained 13-14 June in Baku, charged with assaulting police during May opposition rally. President Aliyev 22 June pardoned 66 prisoners, including opposition Musavat party head Arif Hajili and 8 rights activists detained after participating in April 2011 opposition rallies.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jun 2012

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Police in Baku throughout month broke-up unsanctioned opposition rallies demanding greater freedoms, protesting country’s poor human rights record. Court 16 May released prominent opposition activist Elnur Mecidli, arrested following April protest.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 May 2012

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At least 1 officer, 1 militant killed 6 April in security forces operation against suspected Islamic militants in Ganja. Authorities 7 April began mass arrest of suspected radical Islamists. Ministry of National Security 18 April announced large scale special operations conducted in Baku, Sumgayit, northern border regions; Vugar Padarov, leader of al-Qaeda linked group, reportedly killed, 19 others arrested across country. Officials 25 April announced joint Azeri-Russian operations targeting suspected terrorists, organised crime. Several hundred opposition supporters 8, 22 April protested in Baku demanding reforms, freedom for political prisoners, resignation of President Aliyev. Prominent journalist Idrak Abbasov 18 April severely beaten by oil company workers while covering house demolition in long-running land dispute with residents in Sulutepe. Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman 23-24 April visited Baku, discussed bilateral cooperation.

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