Dethroned Azerbaijani Elites Made Big Investments in Europe

When Eldar Mahmudov fell out of favor with Azerbaijan’s government, he fell hard.
In October 2015, the country’s national security minister was dismissed from his powerful role by a presidential order. Within days, wild stories peppered local media outlets about raids on his villa, where police discovered glass jars full of diamonds and cardboard boxes stuffed with foreign currency. His ministry associates were reportedly arrested on various charges linked to corruption and extortion, and a statue honoring his late father — a famous economist — was unceremoniously demolished.

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Freedom of Speech and Human Rights in Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, human rights defenders and NGOs have less and less space for activity. In recent years, amendments to laws have been adopted that impose restrictions on the work of human rights defenders and strict state control over it. The arrests of the most famous human rights defenders and the subsequent trials that ended in prison terms show that Azerbaijan is confidently moving towards authoritarianism, apparently taking over from Russia its neglect of civil society.

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Azerbaijani Media Remains in a ‘Very Serious Situation’

Once again, Azerbaijan has been ranked 166 in the Reporters without Borders yearly World Press Freedom Index.

The index, which ranks countries’ media situation based off of categories such as pluralism, media independence and abuses, found no positive improvement in Azerbaijan to warrant a vertical movement on the list.

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A Regime Conceals Its Erasure of Indigenous Armenian Culture

A groundbreaking forensic report tracks Azerbaijan’s recent destruction of 89 medieval churches, 5,840 intricate cross-stones, and 22,000 tombstones.

In April 2011, when a US Ambassador traveled to Azerbaijan, on the southwestern edge of the former USSR, he was denied access to the riverside borderland that separates this South Caucasus nation from Iran. But it was not a foreign foe that halted the visit. Instead, his Azerbaijani hosts insisted that the envoy’s planned investigation inside the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan (officially, Naxçıvan Autonomous Republic) could not proceed because it was motivated by fake news. The ambassador had intended to probe the reported destruction of thousands of historical Medieval Christian Armenian artworks and objects at the necropolis of Djulfa in Nakhichevan. This cemetery is recorded to have once boasted the world’s largest collection of khachkars — distinctive Armenian cross-stones. However, according to Azerbaijani officials this reported destruction was a farce, that the site had not been disturbed, because it never existed in the first place. Despite ample testimony to the contrary, Azerbaijan claims that Nakhichevan was never Armenian.

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Boomerang law. After all, life does not end tomorrow

Chingiz Sultansoy “So I remembered this pain”

The former deputy of the Milli Majlis, the former head of the Press Service of the Ministry of Defense of the Azerbaijan Republic, Eldar Sabiroglu, published his Facebook status on his son’s page. He told how his son is being tortured in custody. His son Rufat Safarov has been deprived of his freedom for the third year. At the end of 2015, the investigator of the Zardab district prosecutor’s office, R.Safarov, made a bold and sensational statement about corruption and lawlessness in law enforcement, then resigned and was soon arrested, of course. The authorities do not forgive such statements.

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To punish or pardon?

The number of political prisoners in Azerbaijan remains approximately the same from year to year. The president regularly signs pardon decrees but the “vacancies” on bunk beds in prisons are quickly occupied by newly-arrived opponents of the political elite of Azerbaijan.

The following is a Meydan TV report about how the possibility of pardon is used to manipulate political prisoners and how the prisoners themselves have become bargaining chips in the Azerbaijani government’s foreign policy.

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