The participants of the rally against "clan-based political elite" in Azerbaijan. Photo by Aziz Kamriov for "Caucasian Knot"

08 September 2017, 00:43

Azerbaijani rights defenders treat spending on lobbying in Europe as ineffective

The money spent by Azerbaijan to bribe European politicians and officials has not produced any result in the international arena, except for neutralizing criticism of human rights violations. This opinion was voiced by rights defenders and oppositionists interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

On September 4, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) published a report according to which in the period from 2012 to 2014, the Azerbaijani authorities used fictitious companies to pay for lobbying the Azerbaijan's interests in the EU.

The investigation casts a serious shadow on the authority of the European agencies, since they "for many years turned a blind eye to the violation of human rights in Azerbaijan," said rights defender Rasul Jafarov.

According to Natiq Jafarli, the executive secretary for the movement "Republican alternative" (ReAl), 2.9 million US dollars present not the entire amount spent by the Azerbaijani authorities for lobbying their interests. For the sake of preserving their legitimacy, the authorities provided the interests of other states, including Russia, the United States, and the EU countries, Natiq Jafarli believes.

Emin Guseinov, the executive director of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS), has stated that the authorities practiced bribing European politicians to neutralize criticism of human rights violations. Thus, Emin Guseinov has pointed to the failure of the report by Christoph Strässer on political prisoners in Azerbaijan at the PACE session in January 2013.

Rovshan Rzaev, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, has called the OCCRP's investigation a fictitious report prepared by the forces hostile to the country.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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