Prominent activist arrested in Azerbaijan.

Prominent Azerbaijani activist, Ilgar Mammedov was arrested in Baku on Monday, (4 February) and charged  with instigating unrest in the town of Ismaili. During several days of rioting in Ismaili in January a hotel and several cars were burnt by angry crowds protesting against corruption by local officials.

Ilgar Mammedov is Chairman of the Real Alternative, Movement for Social Change.

It is not yet clear how Mammedov has been implicated in the affair. Ilgar Mammedov is a well known activist, considered cautious and considerate in his criticism. Writing on her facebook page, prominent female activist Khadija Ismailova said that “his arrest is a signal to those who think there is a safe way of doing opposition politics. There is no safe way.”

The arrest of Mammedov is considered as a sign that the Azerbaijani government is upping the stakes in its “cat and mouse” game with opposition forces ahead of presidential elections in October.

Source: CEW Staff

Azerbaijan: testing the boundaries of the political space.

Five young activists were jailed on 26 January for protesting peacefully in the centre of Baku.

Five young activists were jailed on 26 January for protesting peacefully in the centre of Baku.

Azerbaijan imprisoned five young activists over the weekend and heavily fined several dozen others, after they participated in an unsanctioned public protest in the centre of Baku on Saturday, (26 January 2013).

Those arrested included the well-known blogger and dissident Emin Milli who a few years ago was imprisoned for seventeen months on trumped up charges of hooliganism, who was sentenced for fifteen days. Abdulfaz Gurbanli, Rufat Abdullaev, Turkal Azerturk and Tuncal Guliyev were sentenced for thirteen days each. Several other protestors were given heavy fines. They were part of a crowd of several hundred that converged on Baku’s Fountain Square in solidarity with protests that had been held in previous days in the town of Ismaili, 150 kilometers northwest of Baku. More…

Baku demonstrators demand the dissolution of parliament.

A protestor being restrained by police in Baku on 17 November 2012
(picture by Mehman Huseynov).

Dozens of demonstrators were arrested in Baku over the weekend after participating in an unsanctioned demonstration calling for the dissolution of Parliament.

As was the case with previous protests organised by youth movements and opposition groups in Azerbaijan, the Baku City Council did not issue a permit for the demonstration which took place on Saturday 17, November in Fountain Square, citing potential disruptions to traffic in the city centre.

According to the Facebook event set-up to organise the protest, over 1,700 people confirmed their attendance. In the end only around a hundred turned up. More…

Four views on current politics in Azerbaijan ahead of presidential elections in October 2013

The Maidan Tower in Baku. A symbol of Azerbaijani history.

With the democratic transition of power progressing in Georgia, the focus of the regional and international community is increasingly shifting to the upcoming elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Notably, Azerbaijan has scheduled presidential elections for October 2013, which are regarded by many observers as crucial for the democratic development of the country.

Marion Kipiani was recently in Baku and she spoke with four experts about their perceptions of the political system, the upcoming elections, and the possible impacts of the change of government in Georgia on the electoral environment in Azerbaijan. The political and electoral systems in Azerbaijan are still under development, this was one of the few statements that the four experts unanimously agreed on.  Farhad Mammedov, Razi Nurullayev, Anar Mammadli and Arastun Orujlu tell her why. More…