The British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Ifran Siddique, on Monday (17 August) met with members of the Board of the REAL Movement in the capital, Baku. Present for the meeting were the Executive Secretary of the REAL Movement Natig Jafarli, and Board members Altai Goyushov and Erkin Gadirli.
Sources at REAL said that the meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, focused on the country’s economic situation and prospects for the future development of the country’s socio-political situation. The sides also discussed preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections and issues related to political prisoners, among who is the Chairman of the REAL Movement, Ilgar Mammedov. At the meeting the issue of reports about pressure being put on Ilgar Mammedov whilst in prison was raised. The matter has caused concern in international quarters and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe last week wrote to the Azerbaijani Minister of Justice on the matter. A number of Azerbaijani journalists who visited the penitentiary facility where Ilgar Mammadov is being held were refused access to the politician.
The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission has refused to register Ilgar Mammedov as a candidate in next month’s Presidential elections, saying that some of the signatures of the 40,000 needed to nominate a Presidential candidate were false. Mammedov is currently in jail accused of inciting violence during incidents in the region of Ismail last January. Amnesty International has declared him a prisoner of conscience.
The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission stated that Ilgar Mammedov had submitted 41 247 signatures and 4 982 out of them turned out to be invalid.
According to the Azerbaijani Press Agency (APA) CEC chairman Mazahir Panahov said that representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan also took part in the checking process of the signatures, along with the representatives of international organization: “In general, all our steps are clear.” However, the Press service of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan told APA that the Embassy did not play any role in the process: “The reports that the representative of the US Embassy took part in the counting of the signatures are groundless”. More…
Ilgar Mammedov being detained by police in Baku on 4 February 2013 (picture courtesy of RFE/RL)
There are several peculiar things connected with the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan on 9 October, but surely the one that is most peculiar is that two leading contenders are not campaigning at all. One does not want to, and the other cannot. More…
The case of Azerbaijani political activist Ilgar Mammedov is fast becoming a test-case of the resilience and integrity of those European institutions that are meant to be the guardians of human rights on the continent. Mammedov was arrested earlier this year after visiting the town of Ismaili at a time when rioting was taking place. Mammedov is accused of inciting the riot.
Unrests in Ismailli district began on the evening of January 23, after an accident involving the nephew of the head of the local administration Nizami Alekperov, and the son of the Minister of Labor Fizuli Alekperov – Vugar Alekperov, triggering a riot. The participants set fire to a number of commercial entities belonging to officials. Special Forces and internal troops entered the district using rubber bullets and tear gas There were dozens of arrests and many injured as a result of clashes. Mammedov, who is also Director of the Council of Europe Schgool for Political Studies in Baku and co-Chair of the social movement “Real”, went to Ismaili to investigate the incident and was subsequently arrested and accused of inciting the riot.
His case was raised this week by the Council of Europe, an institution that has traditionally been the beacon of human rights on the continent. Azerbaijan is a member of the Council and will take over its rotating chairmanship in 2014. There is great unease in European circles about the message this will send, and frustration at a deteriorating human rights situation in Azerbaijan at this juncture. More…
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