Political émigré who returned home to visit critically ill father arrested on drug-related charges (updated)

Azad Hasanov, Musavat party member and political exile living in Lithuania, has been arrested during a short return to his home country and charged with drug trafficking.

According to his lawyer, Osman Kazimov, the Khatai District Court sentenced him to four months in detention on drug-related charges. Under Article 234.4.3 (illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of sale of drugs), Hasanov faces between five and twelve years in prison.

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OCCRP names Aliyev “Person of the Year”

Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, has won the first ever Organized Crime and Corruption Person of the Year bestowed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The award is given for the person who figured prominently in 2012 on stories on crime and corruption in its coverage area.  Aliyev was chosen because of new revelations this year about how his family had taken large shares in lucrative industries including the telecom, minerals and construction industries often through government related deals.

The award is chosen by the 60 reporters and 15 news organizations that make up the OCCRP consortium. Runners-up included Albanian drug lord Naser Kelmendi, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a US$2.9 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. Part of the money was used to help whitewash Azerbaijan’s international image, which had been rightly tainted due to grave human rights violations. European politicians, who took money to talk up Azerbaijan were complicit, along with European financial institutions that enabled the scheme.


Journalist Aytaj Ahmadova detained and physically pressured

What else you can expect from such government?

On 3 October, Azerbaijani journalist Aytaj Ahmadova was detained while filming a protest in Zabrat, a settlement close to Baku.

A group of citizens had been protesting against their desolate living conditions, demanding that the government renovated their unsafe homes which are in danger of collapsing.

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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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