A resident of Baku wearing a medical mask. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

06 April 2020, 20:37

Opposition accuses Azerbaijani authorities of repression during pandemic

The National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) of Azerbaijan has condemned the authorities for repressive measures against oppositionists. Members of the NCDF claim that the government uses the pandemic situation "for reprisal against its political opponents."

The NCDF has noted that President Ilham Aliev declared oppositionists to be "enemies."

"On March 22, Tofiq Yagublu, a member of the NCDF's coordination centre, a former prisoner of conscience, was arrested on a fabricated charge of disorderly conduct. He faces up to 7 years of imprisonment. On March 30, human rights defender Elchin Mamed was arrested on a trumped-up charge of theft," the NCDF declares in its statement.

Furthermore, Anar Melikov, an activist of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), and Anar Babaev, a member of the movement "Muslim Unity", were also arrested.

"Anar Melikov wrote a post on social networks about poor conditions in quarantine zones, and Anar Babaev handed out to people masks for free for protection against the coronavirus infection," the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was told by Djamil Gasanli, the leader of the NCDF.

According to him, after criticizing the authorities, Intigam Bairamov was sentenced to 30 days of arrest, and Agil Gumbatov was sent to compulsory treatment.

"Repressions can provoke popular unrest," stated Gezyal Bairamly, the PFPA's deputy chair.

Emin Guseinov, Director of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Security (IRFS), believes that the authorities are intensifying repressions to intimidate the society amid the economic crisis.

Let us remind you that the human rights organization "Human Rights House Foundation" (HRHF) also criticized the Azerbaijani authorities for persecuting government critics during the pandemic.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 6, 2020 at 01:00 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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