Other News - Azerbaijan
Rally held near Azerbaijan's Consulate in Tabriz
Iranian clergymen and students have organized a rally in front of
Azerbaijan's consulate in Tabriz, Iranian news site arannews.ir said.
Clergymen and students from Urmia and Khoy cities condemned Azerbaijan's anti-Islamic policy and urged Azeri authorities to free religious activists.
Iranian Supreme Leader's representative in Kashan condemned during Friday prayer Azerbaijan's anti-Islamic policy calling on Ilham Aliyev to learn from Gorbachev's fate, who ignored Imam Khomeyn's advises lost his power.
Iranian media: Aliyev lost in `gambling' and in politics
Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan lost both in `gambling' and in politics, Iranian news site `arannews.ir' said.
`Ilham Aliyev has not been a politician. He was more famous in `gambling'. During Heydar Aliyev's presidency in 1996 Ilham lost a large sum in a casino in Istanbul, he was taken as a hostage, which made his father to send a delegation to free his son,' the report said.
The Iranian media writes if in 1996 Aliyev was gamblers' hostage, now he is a hostage of Israel's policy. `Who will free Ilham Aliyev from Israel hostage this time?'
Leila Yunus: Azerbaijan ruled in mafia-clan mode
"The situation in Azerbaijan's human rights is appalling and the campaign 'Sing for Democracy' has been created in order to attract the world's attention to the problems in this area". So commented the director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), Leila Yunus, at a press conference on the results of the campaign by local human rights activists on the eve of Eurovision.
Contact.az quotes Yunus as saying that Azerbaijan is not even an authoritarian regime, but a mafia-clan management system. Today, the country has 70 political prisoners. Some of them sit in jail for participating in peaceful demonstrations, for which even in Russia they give 15 days.
Within the number of political prisoners, Yunus also included 10 activists of the Islamic Party sentenced to 10-12 years in jail on trumped-up charges of coup d'etat.
Yunus also focused attention on the arrest of seven journalists, who, following Eurovision, could be imprisoned for 5-7 years. In addition, criminal charges were brought against four human rights defenders.
Yunus paid particular attention to the violation of property rights of citizens. 60,000 residents of Baku have been illegally evicted from their apartments. Eurovision has accelerated this process," said Yunus, adding that the seizure of property took place in violation of the laws, without a decision by the Cabinet or official budget allocations.
Turning to European journalists, Yunus urged them not to remain indifferent to the issue of human rights in Azerbaijan.
"Say no to corruption in Europe and to the corrupt politicians, do not take money from the Aliyev regime, say yes to democracy in the faraway country of Azerbaijan," she said. However, the statement by Yunus caused a hysterical reaction by pro- government journalists from the state media. One of them protested against anti-government statements, seeing a "violation of ethics" in the words of Yunus.
Baku Rights Abuses Focus of New Web Site
/MAY 21/ asbarez/
Opposition demonstrator being dragged by Azeri police (photo by Reuters)
The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (the IPGA), coordinated by Article 19, has launched its Web site, AzerbaijanFreeXpression.org, and Facebook and Twitter profiles ahead of this week's Eurovision Song Competition, which will commence in Baku on Tuesday, announced Reporters Without Borders.
Looking behind the glitz of Eurovision, the IPGA website examines the alarming freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan, where journalists and others face blackmail, intimidation, violence, and imprisonment for expressing critical views.
As the stage is set for the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place this week in Baku, the Azerbaijani authorities are working hard to promote a positive image abroad. But at home they are severely restricting the right to freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms.
`As Eurovision approaches, our new website shows that the freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan continues to worsen', said Article 19 Executive Director, Agnès Callamard. `The broadcast media is completely dominated by the state, leaving no room for independent voices. The organizer of Eurovision, the European Broadcasting Union, must end its policy of silence and hold the Azerbaijani authorities accountable for their freedom of expression violations.'
`With seven journalists behind bars, Azerbaijan is among the top 10 global jailers of the press,' said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. `This crackdown comes in the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest, which will gather journalists from more than 40 participating countries and fix the world's eyes on Azerbaijan. The significant resources official Baku has poured to polish the country's image abroad will be meaningless without implementing systematic reforms to improve press freedom conditions at home. The immediate and unconditional release of our colleagues would be a good start.'
`In Azerbaijan, journalists become the targets of violence when they stand up in the face of pressure from the authorities,' said Reporters Without Borders Director-General Olivier Basille. `These attacks have created a climate of intimidation that is all the more frightening because those responsible enjoy complete impunity. The murders of two journalists remain unsolved due to a lack of political will. The authorities must take action now to find their killers and bring them to justice'.
Along with its Web site, the IPGA is launching its Facebook and Twitter profiles, through which it will provide regular updates on freedom of expression developments in Azerbaijan.
Leading article: Political legitimacy is about more than Eurovision
/MAY 23 /independent.co.uk/
The Eurovision Song Contest is the most-watched non-sporting competition in the world. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that Azerbaijan's government sees Saturday's gala as a ticket of admission to the community of nations. Nor that President Ilham Aliyev has spent around $134m on a spanking new venue to host the event.
But behind the preposterous glitz stands an oppressive, oil-rich regime where a corrupt ruling elite enjoys fabulous wealth and those who dare to protest are routinely arrested and beaten.
The statistics are grim. Amnesty International records at least 12 prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijani jails and the country comes near the bottom of the press-freedom index. And nothing has changed in the run-up to Eurovision. Just this week, more people were held during a pro-democracy protest. It will take more than a song competition to distract attention from the manifest inhumanity of the Azerbaijani regime.
The Independent: It will take more than a song competition to distract attention from the manifest inhumanity of the Azerbaijani regime
`The Eurovision Song Contest is the most-watched non-sporting competition in the world. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that Azerbaijan's government sees Saturday's gala as a ticket of admission to the community of nations. Nor that President Ilham Aliyev has spent around $134m on a spanking new venue to host the event,' The Independent writes after the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 held in Baku.
`But behind the preposterous glitz stands an oppressive, oil-rich regime where a corrupt ruling elite enjoys fabulous wealth and those who dare to protest are routinely arrested and beaten,' the paper writes.
`The statistics are grim. Amnesty International records at least 12 prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijani jails and the country comes near the bottom of the press-freedom index. And nothing has changed in the run-up to Eurovision. Just this week, more people were held during a pro-democracy protest. It will take more than a song competition to distract attention from the manifest inhumanity of the Azerbaijani regime,' the article concludes.
Azerbaijan `slaps' Turkey at the last moment
Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, which is being held in the Azerbaijani capital city Baku, delivered a last-minute unpleasant surprise for Can Bonomo, who will represent Turkey at the event.
Bonomo's manager Ece Celebioglu informed that Azerbaijan `scored' a last-minute goal, Hurriyet daily of Turkey informs.
`They did not allow for Can Bonomo's and our family members to attend the concert. They say they gave the [concert] tickets to other guests. In fact, others will watch the performances on the spot, whereas Can Bonomo's family members will have to watch [them] on TV,' Bonomo's manager said.
Turkish media called this incident a huge disgrace.
Opposition Protests in Downtown Baku! Photos and Video
BAKU. May 21, 2012: Today, Public Chamber of the Azerbaijani opposition held a protest rally in downtown Baku. The protesters demanded respect for the right of the Azerbaijani citizens to freedom of assembly. The protesters also demanded freedom for the opposition activists imprisoned for their participation in previous protest rallies. Click here for
Police apprehended and later released over 40 opposition activists. Click
here to see police in action Abulfaz Gurbanli, chairman of the PFPA Youth
Organization was beaten twice while in police custody, first at the
Sabail District Police Department, and secondly in the bus where the
police transported the arrested opposition activists to Gobustan, 40
kilometers away from Baku. Apparently, the police has retured to its
previous policy of detaining the opposition protesters and
transporting them to a remote location, away from the protest area.
Below are the photos frmo the event:
Azerbaijan Not to join Any Military Coalition :Foreign Ministry
/MAY 23/Xinhua/ CRIENGLISH.com, China/
Azerbaijan is not going to join any military coalition for the time being, spokesman for the country' s Foreign Ministry Elman Abdullayev told local media here on Tuesday.
According to Abdullayev, Azerbaijan has joined the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and will not join any military block.
"Currently Azerbaijan is loyal to its independent policy and it is not going to join any military block, including NATO. At the same time Azerbaijan pursues the course of integration into the Euro-Atlantic Institutions. Membership and integration are rather different things,"
Last year, commenting on Azerbaijan's integration into NAM, the country's Foreign Ministry spokesman Elxan Poluxov said that the decision to join NAM does not contradict Baku's European integration ambitions, which have always been limited in scope.
Addressing the meeting of heads of state and government on Afghanistan on Monday in Chicago, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said "Azerbaijan will continue its peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan until the end of 2014 and beyond, if it's necessary."
"Since the early years Azerbaijan has made every effort to ensure peace and security in Afghanistan," said the Azeri leader.
Azerbaijan and its neighbor Georgia are important transit countries for U.S. and NATO troops and supplies to Afghanistan via a network of ports and railroads, which is known as the Northern Distribution Network.
Azerbaijan contributed a platoon to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in 2002 with the aim of contributing to provision of peace, security and order in Afghanistan.
Baku no more in the running for 2020 Olympic Games
The winning bid will be announced on September 7, 2013...
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Wednesday that Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid have made it on to the shortlist of cities bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
Baku and Doha likewise had made their bids, but they were unable to make the shortlist.
The winning bid for the 2020 Olympics will be announced on September 7, 2013, during the Buenos Aires conference, the IOC's official website informs.
Eurovision's Dirty Secret
/MAY 23/ azerireport.com/
LONDON. May 23, 2012: The BBC Program "Panorama" produced a video report on the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan. A half hour video report titled "Eurovision's Dirty Secret" shows that behind the glitzy Song Contest stands the propaganda purposes of an unsavory government of Azerbaijan with terrible human rights records, rigged elections, Mafia-like family of the president Aliyev, and the corrupt and monopolized economy of the country (Azerireport).
Azerbaijan appeared in new international scandal
Austrian Bank OEBS offered 200 thousand euro bribe to the Azerbaijani side to free its ex-manager, Austrian newspaper `Der Standard' said.
Azerbaijani news site `Azadlig' quotes the Austrian paper revealing that OEBS staffer was arrested in Baku for being engaged in dirty money laundering.
Der Standart said the Austrian banker escaped from Austria to Azerbaijan. The banker was detained in Azerbaijan and the OEBS was forced to pay bribe for his release.
SOCAR Is Sponsoring a Propaganda Trip for Members of US Congress
WASHINGTON, DC. May 24, 2012. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) is sponsoring a visit to Azerbaijan between May 24 and May 28 for a group of Americans that includes some members of the US Congress and other individuals. Scheduled to overlap with the glitzy Eurovision song contest held in the capital Baku, this visit seems to be intended as a part of a propaganda campaign to bolster the image of the Aliyev regime in front of the international community.
The trip's sponsor, SOCAR, itself has been implicated in violations of human rights, including demolition of private houses and a brutal attack on the journalist Idrak Abbasov covering the those violations. One of the Americans selected for the SOCAR-sponsored trip, singer and song-writer Sara Hickman, refused to go, stating that by accepting the trip she `would have become a human rights violator by association'.
Elmar Chakhtakhtinski, chairman of Azerbaijani Americans for Democracy (AZAD), told Azeri Report that regardless to the intentions of SOCAR and the Azerbaijani government, the members of the US Congress can use this visit as an opportunity to meet not just the government representatives but also the representatives of the political opposition and civic organizations. `Such an approach would allow the US Congressmen to form a full opinion on the country and, more importantly, prevent the formation of a public perception that this whole venture is a paid advertisement operation with US Congress members playing as stars of the show to whitewash the dictator in Azerbaijan,' said Elmar Chakhtakhtinski.
`Azeri government carries out orders of US, Israeli masters'
/MAY 25/press tv/
A senior Iranian lawmaker condemns the recent gathering in front of the Iranian Embassy in Baku, saying that the Azeri government is Israel's lapdog.
Deputy Chairman of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign
Policy Hossein Ebrahimi said on Thursday that the Azeri government is simply Washington and Tel Aviv's lackey and carries out their orders without questioning them.
On May 16, about 100 members of the Southern Azerbaijan Independence Party, the International Diaspora Center, and the World Congress of Azerbaijanis gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in the Azeri capital.
The pro-Israeli groups shouted slogans against the Islamic Republic, insulting the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
He added that Baku authorities are trying to impose their will on the Azeri nation by means of homosexual parades, closing down mosques and banning participation in religious ceremonies.
Iran's Foreign Ministry on May 22 summoned Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Tehran Javanshir Akhundov in protest against the gathering in front of the Iranian Embassy in Baku.
Before summoning the Azeri ambassador, Iran's Embassy in Baku issued a strongly-worded statement in protest at the gathering. Mohammad Baqer Bahrami, the Iranian Ambassador to Baku, also left Azerbaijan on Monday in protest at the move.
Relations between the two neighbors have been strained after Azerbaijan signed a USD1.5 billion deal with Israel to purchase drones and anti-aircraft and missile systems.
Azerbaijan is a major energy producer in the Caucasus and exports oil to Israel, while buying weapons and military hardware in return.
Last month, Tehran summoned Azeri Ambassador Javanshir Akhundov to protest Baku's arms agreement with the Israeli regime.
L'Azerbaïdjan ne rejoindra aucun bloc militaire, pas même l'Otan
L'Azerbaïdjan ne participera à aucune coalition militaire pour le moment, a déclaré lundi à la presse locale le porte-parole du ministère azerbaïdjanais des Affaires étrangères, Elman Abdullayev.
L'Azerbaïdjan a rejoint le Mouvement des non-alignés (NAM), mais ne participera à aucun bloc militaire, a-t-il déclaré.
`Pour le moment, l'Azerbaïdjan est fidèle à sa politique d'indépendance, et ne rejoindra aucun bloc militaire, pas même l'Otan. L'Azerbaïdjan poursuit certes son processus d'intégration dans les institutions euro-atlantiques. Mais la qualité de membre et l'intégration sont des choses très différentes`, a-t-il expliqué.
En 2011, commentant l'intégration du NAM par l'Azerbaïdjan, le porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères Elxan Pouxov avait déclaré que cette entrée dans le NAM n'était pas contraire aux ambitions d'intégration européenne de Bakou, des ambitions qui avaient toujours été d'envergure limitée.
ISRAEL TO DELIVER UNMANNED JETS WORTH OVER $300M TO AZERBAIJAN
Israel has signed a large military contract with Azerbaijan. According to an Israeli Zman website, the Israel "Aviation industry" has signed a contract with Azerbaijan for the supply of some tens of unmanned jets.
The negotiations between the parties lasted long enough and successful. This is a significant contract in excess of such an agreement with Turkey, which was estimated by experts at $300m.
Earlier, Azerbaijan agreed with Israel to purchase arms for a total of $1.6bn. According to The Jerusalem Post, the arms to Azerbaijan will be supplied by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Earlier, in April 2011, IAI planned to sell Heron and Searcher Mk.2 unmanned jets to Azerbaijan.
Flight global assumes that the Azerbaijani military could use them in monitoring gas and oil pipelines along with execution of purely military tasks.