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Editorials

Brenda Shaffer's Conflicts of Interest - by Casey Michel
Iranian Government Is Killing Lake Urmia - by Umud Duzgun
"Dark Times" in Azerbaijan - by Veronika Szente Goldston
What is Going On in Azerbaijan and Its NGO Sector - by Ali S. Novruzov
The Price of Tyranny Will Be Paid in Blood in Azerbaijan - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
The Parallel Realities of President Ilham Aliyev - by Giorgi Gogia
"Allahu Akbar" and Social Mutation - by Ganimat Zahidov
Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe: Crisis of Legitimacy - by Vugar Gojayev
The Iranian Delirium of Azerbaijani Regime's Proponents - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
The Georgian and Azerbaijani Elections: A Postmortem - by Richard Kauzlarich
How Europe Failed Azerbaijan - by Aslan Amani
Azerbaijan: The Challenges of Selling Oil Rich State’s Massive Electoral Fraud to the US Public - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Corrupt Dictator Is Challenged by a Scholar in Azerbaijan’s Presidential Elections - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
EU and Azerbaijan: Setting the Record Straight - by Eldar Mamedov
How Azerbaijan is Like 'The Godfather' - by Michael Weiss
Karabakh and Democracy: Putting Carriage Before the Horse - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Azerbaijan Stirred, Not Shaken by Turkish Protests - by Shahla Sultanova
Abulfaz Elchibey and Democracy - by Irena Lasota
The EU and Azerbaijan: Mismatched Objectives - by Giorgi Gogia
Presidential Elections in Iran Mean Nothing for Iran's Ethnic Minorities - by Umud Duzgun
A Double Standard Won't Do for Baku - by Eldar Mamedov
Open Letter to American Participants of US-Azerbaijan Convention in Baku - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
When the Music Dies... - by Rebecca Vincent
Azerbaijani FM's Diplomatic Trip to Isreal Tweaks Tehran - by Shahin Abbasov
Sound Bites Aside... - by Andy Heil
Oil and Stability in Azerbaijan - by Lucy Wallwork
Azerbaijan & Iran: A Soft-Power Struggle? - by Eldar Mamedov
A Tale of Two Azerbaijanis - by Murad Gassanly
"Notebook About Cuba" of Vahid Gazi - Story of "Island of Freedom" - by Rustam Ibragimbekov
South Azerbaijan Is Not Iran - By Umud Duzgun
Azerbaijan and EU: Recalibrating Relations? - by Eldar Mamedov
Azerbaijan: a Mafia State - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Aylisli Controversy Reveals the True Face of Aliyev Regime - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Examining the Economic Sources of Ismayilli Discontent - by Khadija Ismayilova
Secret Videos Threaten Top Aide of Azerbaijani President - by Shahin Abbasov
Strasser's Honorable Defeat - by Anar Mammadli

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OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS

TeliaSonera’s Behind-the-Scenes Connection to Azerbaijani President’s Daughters- by Khadija Ismayil
Ali Hasanov's Media Business: Journalist Investigation by Khadija Ismayilova
The Corleones of the Caspian - by Michael Weiss, Foreign Policy
Azerbaijani Police Fires Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas at Protesting Small Business Owners
AZAD Letter Supports the Removal of Heydar Aliyev Statue from Mexico City

What is to be Done With Pseudo-Democracies. Hikmat Hajizade's Presentation on January 25, 2012

EMDS Final Report on Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Elections on November 7, 2010

"Resource Nationalism Trends In Azerbaijan, 2004-2009," Research by Vugar Gojayev, March 2010

February 16, 2010 - NHC Report: "Nakhchivan: Azerbaijan's Dark Island"

"End of Term Limits. Monarchical Presidencies on the Rise," by Farid Guliyev, Harvard International Review, Feb. 28, 2009
"Imitation Democracies," by Dmitri Furman, New Left Review, Nov/Dec. Issue, 2008

Politics of Energy: Comparing Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia - by Jos Boonstra, Edward

Burke and Richard Young, FRIDE, September 2008
Azeri Minister of Interior Helped Georgian Government To Suppress Opposition In November 2007

Azerbaijan's 2005 Parliamentary Elections: A Failed Attempt At Transition - by Valerie J. Bunce and Sharon L. Wolchik

Christopher Walker Attacked Azeri Dictatorship At Helsinki Commission
Praise to Dictator
US Lobbying Firm Accused of Accepting Bribes from Azeri Government to Discredit Opposition

90 Years Anniversary of First Muslim Democracy - Azerbaijan Democratic Republic

Last Words of Ganimat Zahid

Syndicate

Interesting Read

Engaging or Shaming Azerbaijan?

WASHINGTON, DC. October 30, 2014: Washington debates over responding effectively to Baku’s crackdown on activists

Washington officials, leading rights campaigners agree that more need to be done to stop Azerbaijan’s escalated pressure on human rights activists and NGOs. Unfortunately, they can’t agree on how...

The topic of the western response to Azerbaijan’s ongoing pressure against rights activists and civil society groups was discussed during the event called “Broader Implications of the Human Rights Crackdown in Azerbaijan” organized by Freedom House and Open Society Foundations in the US capital on October 27, TURAN’s Washington correspondent Alakbar Raufoglu reports.

For rights campaigners, such as Gerald Knaus, the founder of the European Stability Initiative, a Berlin-based think-tank working on European enlargement, the method of “naming and shaming” gross violators of basic human rights in Azerbaijan would provide the victims a voice and solidarity with the international community.

“Time to start looking at the tools [that the US has] on hands, such as implementing Magnitsky-style sanctions against Azerbaijan, as the country now has more political prisoners than even Russia and Belarus,“ one of the speakers emphasized…

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Azerbaijani Police Arrested Yet Another Local Journalist Critical of Ilham Aliyev's Policies

BAKU. October 29, 2014: Today, at about 9 pm, Azerbaijani police arrested Khalid Garayev, the anchor of the opposition Internet-TV "Azerbaycan saati" (Azerbaijan's Hour).  Khalid Garayev is also the journalist of the opposition "Azadlig" (Freedom) newspaper.  The Azerbaijani government has already arrested the lead anchor of the Azerbaijan Saati Seymur Hazi. Natig Adilov, another anchor of the Azeraijan Saati had to flee the country now living and working abroad Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani police decided to still go after Natig Adilov, by planting drugs in his brother's house and arresting him on drug charges.  Murad Adilov has not been politically active and the sole reason for him becoming the target of the Aliyev regime is his relation to Natig Adilov. 

With the arrest of Khalid Garayev, the Azerbaijani government is sending a clear signal to the Azerbaijani society that it is intent to prevent the broadcasting of Azerbaijan Saati's programs at all costs.  Khalid Garayev's arrest came right after the resumption of the broadcasting of Azerbaijan Saati's programs which had been effectively disrupted after the arrest of its lead anchor Seymur Hazi (Azeri Report).

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European Rights Body Urges Azerbaijan to Halt Pressure on Activists

By Margarita Antidze, Reuters

 

TBILISI. October 27, 2014: The plight of human rights activists in Azerbaijan is worsening and Baku should revise some of its legislation to provide better protection, a European rights watchdog said on Monday.

 

Rights groups accuse the government of veteran leader Ilham Aliyev of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents, charges it denies. The West has actively courted the energy-rich ex-Soviet republic as an alternative to Russia in supplying oil and gas.

 

Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner at the 47-nation non-executive Council of Europe, said a crackdown on activists this year was a "very worrying turn that must stop immediately".

 

"What I see is that the human rights situation in Azerbaijan is far from acceptable and, unless it changes for the better, human beings will continue to endure unnecessary suffering," Muiznieks said in emailed answers to questions from Reuters.

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Sparks Fly Over Scholar’s Azerbaijani Ties At Columbia University Event

By Carl Schreck, RFE/RL

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 24, 2014: A political scientist’s ties to Azerbaijan's state-owned energy giant SOCAR sparked a testy exchange at a Columbia University discussion on European energy on October 23 when a student asked the scholar about her ties to the firm.

Brenda Shaffer, a professor at Israel's University of Haifa, responded to a question about her failure to disclose her links to SOCAR by grilling her interlocutor -- journalist and Columbia graduate student Casey Michel -- about his cholesterol, love life, and finances.

“Part of the American way is a right to privacy,” Shaffer replied. “Like, if I asked you, Casey, 'OK, what’s your wife’s name? What school do you go to? Who funds your scholarship right now? Where do you work? How do you pay your meals? … What’s your cholesterol count?’ There’s nothing to be ashamed of in any of those answers.”

The sharp response came during a question-and-answer session at an event titled “Southern Gas Corridor: Progress and Challenges” held in New York at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy. The event’s main speaker was SOCAR Deputy Vice President Vitaliy Baylarbayov.

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Brenda Shaffer's Conflicts of Interest

By Casey Michel, Caseymichel.com

WASHINGTON, DC. October 24, 2014: On Thursday morning, the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University hosted a discussion on the status of the Southern Gas Corridor. Dr. Vitaliy Baylarbayov, the deputy vice president from SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state-run hydrocarbon company, led the discussion, and Jesse McCormick, associate director for the Center on Global Energy Policy, moderated. The panel was rounded out by Brenda Shaffer, whose position remained unclear. Mr. McCormick introduced her as a “panelist,” but she corrected him that she was a “moderator.” She was not listed as moderator – she was not listed at all – in the Center on Global Energy Policy’s release on its website.

I’ll refrain from analysis of her presence at the moment, other than to point to this article on Prof. Shaffer’s recent history of non-disclosure of her time as an “advisor to the president of SOCAR for strategic affairs.” No disclosure was made of her affiliation with SOCAR at today's discussion until I brought it up. I have, instead, transcribed my questions and her response, as well as Mr. McCormick’s attempts to interject. The response from Dr. Baylarbayov was not included, since it was not pertinent, and the ah’s and uh’s of the back-and-forth have been cleaned up.

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Human Rights Watch: France Should Urge Azerbaijani President to Free Political Prisoners

PARIS. October 23, 2014 (HRW.org): President Francois Hollande of France should urge President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to free four human rights defenders jailed unjustly in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch said today. The four are among dozens thrown behind bars in the government’s escalating crackdown on its critics.

Hollande will meet with Aliyev in Paris on October 27, 2014, for a summit convened by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily ethnic Armenian-populated autonomous enclave in Azerbaijan.

“Hollande has a crucial opportunity he should not miss to raise human rights issues with Azerbaijan’s president,” said
Jean-Marie Fardeau, Paris director at Human Rights Watch. “The charges against these activists in Azerbaijan are politically motivated, and Hollande’s voice is badly needed to help secure their freedom.”

The four activists – Leyla Yunus and her husband, Arif; Intigam Aliyev; and Rasul Jafarov – are among the country’s most prominent human rights defenders.

In an October 17
letter, Human Rights Watch urged Hollande to call on Aliyev to release the four before his visit to France.

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Is The Clock Ticking For Azerbaijan's Leadership?

By Liz Fuller, RFE/RL

PRAGUE. October 22, 2014: One year after the presidential ballot in which incumbent Ilham Aliyev was reelected for a third term, Azerbaijan's opposition National Council of Democratic Forces (NSDS) convened a mass meeting in Baku on October 12 to protest the unprecedentedly harsh crackdown launched by the authorities in the wake of that vote.

Human Rights Watch calculates that since Azerbaijan assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Council of Europe on May 1, the government has "dramatically escalated its attack on activists, with [the] authorities arresting at least 11 people"  and jailing at least nine others on politically motivated charges following "flawed trials."

That wave of arrests has elicited criticism not just from human rights watchdogs such as Human Rights Watch, but also from the European parliament and U.S. President Barack Obama. Former U.S. Ambassador to Baku Richard Kauzlarich called earlier this month for the U.S. to impose sanctions in the form of a law modelled on the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act.

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Arrests and Pardons in Azerbaijan

By Giorgi Lomsadze, Eurasianet.org

BAKU. October 22, 2014: Azerbaijan’s government had been pushed hard to free several jailed young activists, but their release last week left a bitter aftertaste in the repressive Caucasus republic. The European Union welcomed the October-17 amnesty, but government critics say Azerbaijani officials made an unsavory show out of it.

Four young democracy activists had to address a letter of repentance to their President Ilham Aliyev to be included in the list of 80 prisoners pardoned by the president. Upon release, two of the young men, Bahtiyar Guliyev and Elsevar Mursalli,  brought flowers to the grave of President Aliyev’s father and predecessor, Heydar Aliyev. 

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Azerbaijani Government Makes Political Prisoners Bow to Founder of Dictatorship in Azerbaijan

BAKU. October 20, 2014: Three members of the Azerbaijani pro-democracy youth organization NIDA -- Elsever Mursalli, Bakhtiyar Guliyev, and Shahin Novruzlu -- were released from prison on October 18 following a presidential pardon. Two of those political prisoners - Elsever Mursalli and Bakhtiyar Guliyev - made statements during their release ceremony expressing their support for the president Ilham Aliyev's policies. Immediately after the their release from prison, Elsever Mursalli and Bakhtiyar Guliyev, accompanied by the director of the pentientiary center where they served their time, visited the grave of Heydar Aliyev, the late president and the father of the incumbent president Ilham Aliyev.  Shahin Novruzlu, the youngest political prisoner, also NIDA activist, did not join Mursalli and Guliyev and went directly home, to attend the funeral of his father who had passed away from a heart attack several days before Shahin's release from jail.

Breaking the will of the political prisoners to have them bow in front of Heydar Aliyev's statue in exchange for their freedom is turning into a routine practice by the Aliyev governemnt to symbolize the triumph of the regime over its political oppponents.

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Human Rights Watch Demands Immediate Release of Leyla and Arif Yunus From Jail

BERLIN. October 20, 2014 (HRW): A hearing on whether to extend the pretrial detention of an outspoken Azerbaijani activist is expected during the week of October 20, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. Leyla Yunus, who is in ailing health, has been held since July 30 and her husband, Arif, also ailing, since August 5, both on politically motivated charges.

The
Azerbaijan authorities should immediately release both the Yunuses and drop the charges against them, Human Rights Watch said. The government should investigate Leyla Yunus’s allegations of ill-treatment in custody and hold those responsible accountable.

“The arbitrary detention of Leyla and Arif Yunus is a travesty and a clear attempt by the Azerbaijan government to silence them with bogus charges,” said
Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to free them immediately and drop the charges.”

Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, was sent to pretrial custody for three months when the couple was arrested on July 30. A court is set to rule on whether to extend her pretrial detention period the week of October 20, but the date of the hearing has not been announced.

The arrests of the Yunuses occurred amid Azerbaijan’s
fierce and ongoing crackdown on independent voices, including human rights defenders, independent journalists, bloggers, and political activists.

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Daughter of Imprisoned Azerbaijani Activists Worries for Their Lives

By Asgar Asgarov, VOA

WASHINGTON, DC. October 18, 2014: Leyla and Arif Yunus are in pre-trial detention in Azerbaijan on high treason and other charges that supporters say are blatantly false — a view shared by human rights group Amnesty International, which has named them “prisoners of conscience.”

Leyla Yunus is one the three finalists this year for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought. She is also a recipient of this year’s Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award, which the Norwegian Helsinki Committee awarded collectively to all of Azerbaijan’s political prisoners.

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department called on Azerbaijan “to respect the rule of law” and release Leyla and Arif Yunus, citing their deteriorating health and what it called “continued threats to Leyla Yunus’ physical security.”

VOA Azerbaijani Service's Asgar Asgarov interviewed their Amsterdam-based daughter Dinara Yunus by email about her fears for her parents' safety and health.

Asgar Asgarov: When did you last speak with your parents? Have you been able to communicate with them since their arrests?

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Thomas Melia: U.S. In 'Stern Conversations' With Azerbaijan

PRAGUE. October 17, 2014 (RFE/RL): A U.S. State Department official says the United States has engaged in "stern conversations" with Azerbaijani officials about crackdowns on rights organizations in the Caucasus country.

Thomas Melia, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, said U.S. officials have been emphasizing in conversations with Azerbaijan that recent harassment of international and Azerbaijani nongovernmental organizations is "unacceptable."

Speaking to "Current Time," a joint television production of RFE/RL and VOA, on the sidelines of the Forum 2000 event in Prague this week, Melia said the United States has been telling Azerbaijan's government the "key to longer-term stability and prosperity is citizen participation in public affairs."

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Ilham Aliyev Signed Pardoning Decree Releasing Several Political Prisoners From Jail

BAKU. October 17, 2014: The Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev signed a pardoning decree releasing 84 persons from jail.  The decree largely covers the non-political convictions and affects only several of 98 political prisoners currently held in Azerbaijan's jails.  The new pardoning decree released Shahin Novruzlu, the youngest of the imprisoned NIDA activists whose father recently passed away from a heart attack. Bakhtiyar Guliyev, another NIDA activist (under the government pressures he renounced his NIDA membership while in prison), and the blogger Elsever Mursalli are among those who were pardoned under the presidential decree. All the released activists wrote a petition for clemency and in June and July of this year and made ​​statements about leaving the NIDA and expressing support for the policies of Ilham Aliyev government.

The head of the  NGOs in Ganja "Enlightenment Center "Intelligent Citizen", Hasan Huseynli, has also been pardoned (Azeri Report).

 
U.S. State Department Calls on Azerbaijani Government to Release Leyla and Arif Yunus from Jail

WASHINGTON, DC. October 16, 2014: U.S. Department of State issued a press statement expressing concerns over the imprisonment conditions of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and called on the Azerbaijani government to release Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus and other political prisoners from jail. Below is the full text of the statement posted on U.S. State Department's website:

The United States is alarmed that human rights defender Leyla Yunus remains in pre-trial detention in Azerbaijan, without access to necessary medical care, despite her deteriorating health. We are also especially concerned about continued threats to Leyla Yunus’ physical security. On humanitarian grounds, we urge the Government of Azerbaijan to immediately grant Leyla Yunus access to independent medical evaluation and care, security, and improved conditions. We also urge the Government of Azerbaijan to respect the rule of law and to release those incarcerated for exercising fundamental freedoms, starting with those with serious medical conditions.

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Human Rights Watch Condemns Azeri Government's New Efforts to Crush Independent Groups

NEW YORK. October 14, 2014 (HRW News): Draft amendments to limit funding of independent groups under Azerbaijan’s already harsh laws would make it nearly impossible for them to operate. These moves come as a prominent international coalition, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), is to decide at a board meeting in Naypyidaw, Burma on October 14 and 15, 2014, what action to take on Azerbaijan’s membership in response to its intensifying crackdown.

EITI is an international coalition to encourage better governance of resource-rich countries by fostering open public debate about how oil, gas, and mining revenues are used.
EITI rules for candidates and participating countries require respect for fundamental freedoms.

The initiative relies on the participation of governments, companies, and independent organizations at all levels, and free and active civil society participation is one of its cornerstones. For the past year the government of oil-rich Azerbaijan has been
impeding the activities of independent groups, flouting its commitments as an EITI member.

“EITI’s leadership should suspend Azerbaijan and make clear what needs to change before it will consider lifting the suspension,” said
Lisa Misol, senior business and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Azerbaijani government’s latest move to crush independent groups confirms that it has no regard for its human rights obligations or its international transparency commitments.”

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Ali Huseynli: We No Longer Need Extensive Activities of Foreign Donors in Azerbaijan

BAKU. October 14, 2014 (Azeri Report): Ali Huseynli (also Huseynov), chairman of Azerbaijani Parliament's Committee on Legal Policy, gave interview to APA News Agency stating that Azerbaijan no longer needed the "extensive activities of foreign donors" in Azerbaijan. Ali Huseynov is the author of the newly enacted Drakonian laws which effectively stopped the work of nonprofit organizations in the country. Interestingly, Ali Huseynov, is also one of few Azerbaijani politicians, who has long been groomed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a "reformist" within the Azerbaijani government. In 2012, Ali Huseynov's GONGO called Confederation of Azerbaijani Lawyers was the largest recipient of the USAID grant ($1.5 million). Below is the full text of Ali Huseynov's interview to APA. The language and grammer of the text of the interview is untouched:

Ali Huseynli: We no longer see need for such extensive activities of foreign donors in Azerbaijan

Baku. Mubariz Aslanov – APA. Chairman of Azerbaijani Parliament's Committee on legal policy and state-building Ali Huseynli’s interview to APA.

- Intensive discussions are underway in Azerbaijan on the amendments, made to the legislation regarding non-governmental organizations. What is your position on this issue?

- Foreign non-governmental organizations’ activities in Azerbaijan have been regulated by our legislation so far.

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Baku Rally Demands President's Resignation, Closer Ties With EU

BAKU. October 12, 2014 (RFE/RL): Thousands of opposition supporters in Azerbaijan have attended an antigovernment rally in the capital, Baku, demanding the resignation of President Ilham Aliyev and an end to the repression of human rights defenders and civic activists.

Demonstrators also demanded closer integration between Baku and the European Union and the release of political prisoners.

The event on October 12 was organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces, a pro-democracy movement of Azerbaijan’s united opposition.

The rally was permitted by municipal authorities on condition that it was held at a stadium in a remote part of Baku.

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Iranian Government Is Killing Lake Urmia

By Umud Duzgun

October 12, 2014: The latest scientific study posits the location for the legendary Garden of Eden in South Azerbaijan (now northwestern Iran), in the vicinity of Tabriz upon which the Genesis tradition was based. According to the British archaeologist Davis M. Rohl, the Garden of Eden was then located in a long valley to the north of Sahand volcano, near Tabriz and not far from the footsteps of Adam and Eve (ancient Garden of Eden) (30 miles) is a lake called Urmia which is now dying not from the global climate change, but from the problems intentionally created by the ruling regime in Iran.

Lake Urmia, known as one of the largest permanent hyper saline lakes in the world, is located at the heart of South Azerbaijan (now northwest of Iran) and is slightly bigger than Utah’s Great Salt Lake. It extends as much as 90 miles from north to south and is as wide as 35 miles east to west during high water periods. This lake was declared a Wetland of International Importance (1971) and designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (1976). Home to a unique species, Artemia, ducks, flamingos and  seasonal habitat for many of migrating birds, Lake Urmia was a popular destination for vacationers.

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Azerbaijani Journalist Khadija Ismayilova on Trial on Criminal Libel Charges
NEW YORK. October 10, 2014 (CPJ.ORG): The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the criminal libel charges filed against Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning investigative journalist in Azerbaijan, and calls on authorities to drop the charges immediately.

Ismayilova is known for her investigations into government corruption in Azerbaijan, including ties between President Ilham Aliyev's family and some lucrative businesses. She hosts a daily program at Radio Azadlyg, the Azeri service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The case stems from accusations by a local individual in Baku, Elman Hasanov, who is referred to in reports as Turkoglu, who said the journalist had slandered him in statements she posted on Facebook, according to regional and international press reports. Hasanov accused Ismayilova of saying he raped a local woman and that he was a homosexual and said that a few years ago she had published a document by the Azerbaijani national security agency, known as MNB, on Facebook that said he was an informant, according to news reports.

Ismayilova denied the accusations, and said she had published a document but had removed all the names.

The trial, which started in Baku on Thursday, is closed to the public and the press, Radio Azadlyg said. If convicted of libel, Ismayilova faces up to three years in jail.

"It is difficult to view this case against Khadija Ismayilova in isolation from the long pattern of official harassment of the tenacious journalist," said Muzaffar Suleymanov, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia researcher. "We urge Azerbaijani authorities to drop these criminal charges immediately and to set about reforming the country's antiquated libel laws."

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"Dark Times" in Azerbaijan

By Veronika Szente Goldston, HRW/Policy Review

NEW YORK. October 8, 2014: The depiction by Azerbaijan’s foreign minister of summer 2014 “as a particularly dark time” in an October 2 speech at the Council of Europe couldn’t have been more fitting to describe the state of human rights in his own country.

The minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, used this striking terminology in his address to the council’s Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, speaking as the chairperson of the institution’s Committee of Ministers. While he was referring to the Ukraine crisis, it’s hard to imagine that anyone in the room – except apparently the minister himself – could have been oblivious to its eerie relevance for Azerbaijan. In recent months, the government’s growing suppression of criticism has escalated into a full-blown assault.

Just since Azerbaijan assumed its role in the rotation as Council of Europe chair in mid-May, at least 11 activists have been arrested and at least 9 others convicted and sentenced to prison terms on politically motivated charges. Among those arrested – within days of each other, between July 30 and August 8 – are some of the country’s most prominent human rights activists: Leyla Yunus, the well-known director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, and her husband, the historian Arif Yunus; Rasul Jafarov, chair of Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Club; and Intigam Aliyev, chair of the Legal Education Society.

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Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award to Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan

OSLO. October 6, 2014 (Norwegian Helsinki Committee Website): The Norwegian Helsinki Committee awards The Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award in 2014 to political prisoners in Azerbaijan. They exhibit great courage and make huge efforts in promoting dignity, democratic values and human rights in their home country. Azerbaijan is a European country that is developing towards dictatorship, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), Bjørn Engesland, in today’s press release. This award is given to all of the political prisoners. It is a sad fact that they are too numerous to all be mentioned here.

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Time for Sanctions on Baku

By David J. Kramer and Richard Kauzlarich, The American Interest

WASHINGTON, DC. October 3, 2014: For years, Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenka has been called Europe’s last dictator, although Vladimir Putin is giving Lukashenka a run for his money, amidst the worst crackdown on human rights in Russia in decades. And now we might also add another leader in the region to the list: President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan.

After an accelerating series of arrests, Aliyev’s government now holds nearly 100 political prisoners, roughly double the number in Belarus and Russia combined. Beyond the raw numbers, Azerbaijan’s authorities are also getting more thuggish in their handling of critics, journalists, and opposition figures—as well as Westerners.

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Aliyev Regime Forces Yet Another Stalinesque Pardon Plea From Its Jailed Opponents

BAKU. October 1, 2014: The Azerbaijani Penitentiary Service published yet another Stalinesque appeal from the jailed opponents of the Aliyev regime containing confession of guilt and plea for pardon. The Penitentiary Service of the Justice Ministry of Azerbaijan published the appeal of six convicted youth activists of the NIDA Movement to the President Ilham Aliyev, reported the Turan News Agency. The appeal was signed by Rashadat Akhundov, Rashad Hasanov, Uzeyir Mammadov, Zaur Gurbanli, Mammad Azizov, and Ilkin Rustamzade. Earlier, two other youth activists arrested as NIDA members - Bakhtiyar Guliyev and Shahin Novruzlu - also made a similar appeal to the presiden Ilham Aliyev. These activists have been imprisoned since March-April of 2013 on the charges of organizing riots, illegal possession of explosives and drugs. These youth leaders spearheaded the antigovernment rallies of the spring of 2013 and have been now in jail for over 19 months. In the text of the appeal published by the Penitentiary Service, the imprisoned NIDA activists noted that they could better contribute to the society if they were in freedom.

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Khadija Ismayilova: I am Going Back to Baku Because It Is My Home
By Robert Coalson, RFE/RL


PRAGUE. October 1, 2014: A
n Azerbaijani investigative journalist has been told that she faces arrest upon her return to Baku from a trip to meet with members of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.

 

Khadija Ismayilova, who is known for her extensive reporting on the business interests of the family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and who hosts a daily program for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, said a criminal libel case has been opened against her and she has been ordered to appear in court on October 3.

"I have been warned that, upon returning from my trip, I will be facing arrest and maybe this is another way to warn me," she told RFE/RL in a telephone interview. "I believe they want me either not to go back to Azerbaijan or to be scared and not be loud about things in Azerbaijan. They have to understand that this is not the way to deal with me."

Ismayilova sees the case as part of a broader crackdown against civil society that has been going on in Azerbaijan since Baku took over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May. According to local rights activists, there are currently 98 political prisoners in Azerbaijan, including 14 independent journalists and bloggers.

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Human Rights Watch: Azeri Government's Repression Tarnishes Its Chairmanship at Council of Europe

STRASBOURG. October 1, 2014 (Hrw.org): Azerbaijan’s longstanding repression of independent voices has reached crisis levels, even as it nears the end of its six-month chairmanship of the Council of Europe. The situation puts to the test the council’s standing as Europe’s foremost human rights body.

“The Azerbaijani government’s systematic crackdown on human rights defenders and other perceived government critics shows sheer contempt for its commitments to the Council of Europe,” said
Giorgi Gogia, senior South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch. “To let the relentless repression go unanswered threatens the very credibility of the institution.”

Azerbaijan assumed the six-month rotating chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May 2014, despite years of suppression of criticism and failure to adhere to the commitments it undertook when joining the organization. But instead of cleaning up its record and addressing longstanding concerns, the government stepped up its crackdown, lashing out at human rights defenders, journalists, and social media activists with spurious criminal charges and convictions.

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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014 Awarded to Anar Mammadli

STRASBOURG. September 29, 2014: The second Václav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – has been awarded to Azerbaijani human rights defender Anar Mammadli.

As Mr. Mammadli is currently in prison, the €60 000 prize was presented to his father, Asaf Mammadov, at a special ceremony today at the Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg, on the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Presenting the trophy, PACE President Anne Brasseur, chair of the selection panel, said: "Mr Mammadli's commitment lies in the area of promoting democratic institutions and civil and political rights. Annar Mammadli is our long-standing partner who shared with our Assembly, but also with other bodies of the Council of Europe, including its Commissioner for human rights, his valuable expertise on the situation in his country."

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Barack Obama Blasts Azerbaijan's Treatment of NGOs

NEW YORK. September 24, 2014: Yesterday, the US president Barack Obama speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative Forum in New York mentioned the difficult challenges to non-profit activities across the globe, specifically naming Azerbaijan as one of the countries hampering the NGO activities: “It is precisely because citizens and civil society can be so powerful — their ability to harness technology and connect and mobilize at this moment so unprecedented — that more and more governments are doing everything in their power to silence them. From Russia to China to Venezuela, you are seeing relentless crackdowns, vilifying legitimate dissent as subversive. In places like Azerbaijan, laws make it incredibly difficult for NGOs even to operate. From Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society. And around the world, brave men and women who dare raise their voices are harassed and attacked and even killed.” Below is the video of Barack Obama's speech at the forum:

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Jail Administration Official Brutally Assaulted Imprisoned Rights Activist Leyla Yunus
BAKU. September 24, 2014: Imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus has been brutally beaten in jail. Ms. Yunus was beaten by the jail administration official, major Yagubov, who dragged her by hair on a jail cell floor telling her to 'be smart'. The information about this beating broke out today, as Yunus' lawyers Fariz Namazli and Cavad Cavadov visited her in Kurdakhani jail. After the visit, later during the day, five lawyers - Elchin Gambarov, Fariz Namazly, Cavad Cavadov, Alaif Hasanov, and Khalid Bagirov - issued a joint statement.

The statement described the jail administration's brutal treatment with Leyla Yunus. Below is the English translation of that statement:

Leyla Yunus also said that on Tuesday evening, the jail warden, major Yagubov, came to her cell, twisted her hands and took her to the next empty cell. There he threw Leyla Yunus on the floor and dragged her from her hairs. At the same time, he yelled at her, saying, "Well, you do not want to get any smarter!?" Then he began to beat her on her kidneys.

The lawyers visually observed that Leyla Yunus' hairs have been pulled out.

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PACE President Visits Azerbaijan. 'Silence is not an Option' is Message from Azeri Civic Activists

BAKU. September 22, 2014: Anne Brasseur, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), is visiting Azerbaijan, meeting with the civil society representatives in the country. Today Brassuer held a three-hour meeting with the civil society representatives of the country discussing the situation with human rights, the state of civil society, the problem of political prisoners. Brasseur asked the participants not to disclose details of the meeting to the media, promising she would make every effort to help resolve the discussed problems. Azerbaijani civil society was narrowly represented in the meeting with Brasseur, consisting of the executive secretary of the REAL Movement Natig Jafarli, human rights defenders Arzu Abdullayeva, Saida Gojamanli, Gunay Ismailova, Zaliha Tahirova, Samir Kazimly, journalists Shahveled Chobanoglu, Nargiz Yagublu (as a member of a family of political prisoner Tofig Yagublu), Aygun Panjaliyeva, member of the NIDA movement, and a lawyer Fariz Namazli. A large segment of the civil society representatives chose not to participate in the meeting in the light of the gross human rights violations of the Azerbaijani government while Azerbaijan officially presides over the Council of Europe. Brasseur was handed a petition on behalf of the Azerbaijani civil society activists who did not attend the meeting. Below is the text of that appeal which is taken from the Facebook page of Khadija Ismayilova, journalist and civil society activist:

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Azerbaijan's Opinion-Shaping Campaign Reaches 'The New York Times'

By Robert Coalson, RFE/RL

BAKU. September 18, 2014: Earlier this month, "The New York Times" published documents demonstrating Azerbaijan's efforts to expand its relationship with think tanks in the United States to bolster U.S. public opinion of the country and make it clear that Baku "is an important security partner."

"It is a campaign that produced real results," the September 6 report stated.

Three days later, the very same newspaper published an op-ed about Azerbaijani-Armenian tensions without disclosing the author's ties to the government in Baku.

The op-ed argued that Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region might become "Russia's Next Land Grab," as the piece's headline warned, after the Kremlin's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory in March.

The September 9 piece was penned by Brenda Shaffer, a political-science professor at Israel's University of Haifa who is currently a visiting researcher at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CEREES) at Georgetown University.

What the author's tagline did not reveal is that Shaffer has worked as an adviser "for strategic affairs" to Rovnag Abdullayev, president of Azerbaijan's state-owned SOCAR energy giant.

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US Citizen Deported From Baku: “Prosecutors Asked Me About Top US Generals, Rights Groups…”

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 17, 2014: In a move reminiscent of the Soviet-era tactics against its dissidents, Azerbaijan last week attempted to arrest an Azeri native US citizen, who was shortly visiting his seriously ill father.

Said Nuri, 32 year-old former political prisoner, told TURAN’s Washington correspondent Alakbar Raufoglu that he was “shocked” when he suddenly found himself under intense scrutiny; He was severely questioned by the Azeri prosecutors while being barred from leaving the country for almost a week; faced with numerous questions regarding top US military leaders, watchdogs and well-known rights groups.

“They were asking absurd questions about my alleged connections with the CIA and whether I personally knew and been trained by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus and others… Clearly, they were trying to arrest me as part of their bogus investigation against western and local NGOs,” Nuri said.

Retired four-star army general Stanley McChrystal until recent years headed the US Special Operations Command.Petraeus, former CIA director, is also a highly decorated four-star general, who served for over 37 years in the US Army. His last assignment in the Army was as commander of the International Security Assistance Force -- ISAF.

While it remains unclear how Azerbaijani government tries to connect famous foreign political and military figures to its crack down against the NGOs, Nuri said, he was also asked “too many questions” about Washington-based watchdogs such as National Endowment for Democracy, as well as individuals such as Sarah Paulsworth, a US citizen and former Peace Corps volunteers in the country.

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SOCAR Oil Deal Benefits Hidden Investors Linked to ... SOCAR?

By Nushabe Fatullayeva and Khalid Kazimov, OCCRP/Azadlig Radio

BAKU. September 16, 2014: Etibar Kovsarov was one of 200 Azerbaijani oil workers who lost their jobs in early 2014. After 30 years of working in oil fields developed by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), he was let go without warning when his contract expired.

One more surprise awaited Kovsarov.

When he applied to SOCAR for any possible compensation, company officials told him that the Gum-Deniz oil field where he’d worked for so many years was now being managed by a private company based in the United Arab Emirates, and that it did not have to pay pensions.

The private company, Bahar Energy Limited (UAE), has signed an unusually lucrative deal with SOCAR. A production-sharing agreement gives it 80 percent of profits of the Gum-Deniz and Bahar oil fields, with the other 20 percent going to SOCAR.

The percentage of profit flowing to Bahar is substantially higher than average for such deals in the industry, and for at least five similar arrangements in Azerbaijan.

The unusual deal may be explained by previously hidden connections between SOCAR and Bahar officials uncovered by reporters for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, with the cooperation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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Azerbaijan Shows Off Military-Industrial Complex At Country's First Weapons Show

By Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet.org

BAKU. September 16, 2014: Azerbaijan has held the country's first international defense exposition, showing off the wares of its military-industrial complex and attracting foreign companies hoping to profit off Baku's rapidly growing military budget.

The expo, ADEX, was held in Baku this week and featured 200 companies from 34 countries. The profile was somewhat similar to the region's other defense expo, Kazakhstan's KADEX, with foreign exhibitors dominated by Russia, Turkey, Israel, and Belarus, along with a smattering of European, American, and Asian companies. 

Azerbaijan, like Kazakhstan, is putting a lot of effort into building a local defense industry by attracting bigger, more experienced foreign partners to set up joint ventures with Azerbaijani companies. It's doing so to reduce its dependence on foreign weaponry, said Deputy Defense Minister Yahya Musaev said at the show. “It is no secret that this [foreign purchasing] leads to a one-sided dependence. Therefore, we conduct scientific research, train specialists to create the technology for national defense industry."

There seem to have been a lot of shipbuilders and navy-related companies at ADEX; Dutch shipbuilder Damen was the "platinum sponsor" of the show and Chinese and Turkish shipbuilders also exhibited, suggesting they think there is naval business to be had in Azerbaijan.

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VOA Interview with Ambassador Kauzlarich: We Really Have to Call Things As They Are

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 13, 2014: Richard Kauzlarich, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan gave an interview to the Voice of America commenting on the recent crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan:

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U.S. Citizen Said Nuri Allowed to Leave Azerbaijan, His Sexual Video Posted on the Internet

BAKU. September 12, 2014: Yesterday, the Azerbaijani government finally allowed Said Nuri, a U.S. citizen, to leave the country. Said Nuri, the former Azerbaijani opposition activist, deputy chief of the pro-opposition youth organization Yeni Fikir (New Thought), left the country years ago after a treason investigation was launched against his organization and became anaturalized citizen of the United States. In early September this year Said Nuri returned to Azerbaijan to visit his ailing father. On September 4, as Nuri tried to leave the country, he was told at the airport that the Ministry of National Security and the Attorney General's Office did not allow his departure. Apparently, the Azerbaijani government refused to recognize Nuri's new citizenship and decided to keep him in the country as an Azerbaijani citizen who was regarded as a witness in one of the political cases. After a week of negotiations, the Azerbaijani government decided to withdraw from its earlier position and decided to deport Nuri from the country. Nuri informed the local journalists that he was told to leave the country and never come back. On the day of his departure from Azerbaijan, Nuri had to experience another unpleasant message from his captors. A sexually explicit video showing Nuri was posted on the Internet which Nuri regarded as an attempt by the Azerbaijani authorities to discredit him.

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Azerbaijan Tightens Screws On Civil Society, Independent Media

By Robert Coalson, RFE/RL

PRAGUE. September 9, 2014: There is good news coming out of Azerbaijan these days. But much of it seems to be coming from the Twitter feed of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

"A free society has emerged in Azerbaijan. All democratic institutions are available and they operate successfully," he wrote on September 1.

Followed moments later by: "All freedoms, including the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of the press and free Internet, are available."

And: "Azerbaijani society is a free society, and this is our great achievement."

But if you dig a little deeper for your news about Azerbaijan, the picture is much bleaker. The European Stability Initiative, a Berlin-based think tank, recently issued a five-page report detailing what it calls "the most serious and brutal crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan ever" since Baku assumed the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May.

From the conviction and eight-year prison sentence handed down to journalist and activist Parviz Hashimli on May 15 to the brutal beating of journalist Ilgar Nasibov by unknown assailants on August 21, it is a depressing litany of arrests, detentions, searches, and court hearings of bloggers, journalists, and prominent activists.

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Ambassador Elin Suleymanov’s Men: News Report Reveals Lobbying Scheme of Aliyev Regime in the US

WASHINGTON DC. September 8, 2014: The New York Times published "Azerbaijan and Think Tanks", a journalist investigation, reporting about the Azerbaijani Embassy’s lobbying efforts aimed at manipulating the local public opinion through influencing the policy recommendations of the local think tanks. The article is linked to the images of the documents proving that the Azerbaijani Embassy directly hired lobbying groups to promote the interests of the Azerbaijani government.

Apparently, the Azerbaijani Embassy to the US penetrated the important think tanks of the country by utilizing the lobbying services of the DCI Group and the Podesta Group. These lobbying groups were hired with the explicit purpose of expanding the relationships with think tanks in the United States to try to reinforce public opinion in the country and to make it clear that Azerbaijan is an important security partner of the US. The New York Times noted that this campaign “produced real results.”

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Azerbaijani Officials Raid U.S.-Based NGO

BAKU. September 6, 2014 (RFE/RL): Azerbaijani security officials have raided the Baku office of the nongovernmental organization IREX.

 

Security officials confiscated computers and documents from IREX, RFE/RL reports.

IREX employees said the officials provided a legal warrant to search the premises but gave no reason for the raid.

IREX's bank assets in Azerbaijan were frozen on July 31.

IREX, which was founded in 1968, is an international nonprofit organization that promotes democratic reforms in some 125 countries worldwide.


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U.S. Citizen Not Allowed To Leave Azerbaijan

BAKU. September 4, 2014 (RFE/RL): A U.S. citizen of Azerbaijani origin, Said Nuri, has been barred from leaving Azerbaijan.

Nuri told RFE/RL that officials at Baku international airport did not allow him to leave for Ukraine on September 4, citing an undisclosed ruling by the National Security Ministry and prosecutor-general's office.

According to Nuri, Azerbaijani officials said to him that he is also a citizen of Azerbaijan and therefore the U.S. Embassy has no right to interfere in the situation.

Nuri was the deputy chief of the pro-opposition Yeni Fikir (New Opinion) youth group.

He left Azerbaijan several years ago after an investigation into treason was launched against his organization.

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How Did Azerbaijani Authorities Miss 3 tons of Drugs?

Top US Anti-Drug Analyst: “Corruption is Most Likely Driving the Train

WASHINGTON, DC. September 3, 2014: Early in July Georgian police uncovered 2.79 tons of liquid heroin in a truck that had entered the country from the next-door Azerbaijan. About $400 million of heroin reportedly belonged to the Taliban and was headed for Europe, according to Georgia's Interior Ministry.

While the Georgian side has detained two of its citizens in connection with the shipment,the Azeri officials, most interestingly, decided to remain silent, leaving many observers wonder how possibly about 3 tons of liquid heroin were not stopped by the country’s law enforcement and what this means regarding the region’s narco-reality.

TURAN’s Washington, DC correspondent Alakbar Raufoglu interviewed Michael Braun, former operations chief for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Justice tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the US and abroad, overconcerns that the Caucasus region is growing as hub for international drug trafficking, especially in a wake of recent massive drugs haul in the region.

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Azerbaijani Journalist Seymur Hazi Arrested on Fabricated Charges of Hooliganism

BAKU. August 29, 2014: Today, Absheron District Police of Baku detained Seymur Hazi, the leading columnist of the opposition newspaper "Azadlig" (Freedom) and the anchor of the Turkey-based independent TV Channel "Azerbaijan Saati" (Azerbaijan Hour). This arrest followed a famillar pattern when during the first hours of the journalist's detention, there is no information about the journalist's whereabouts and this disappearance looks more like a kidnapping. There was no official information about Seymur Hazi's arrest and his whereabouts during the first several hours. Later during the day, the police announced that Seymur Hazi has been arrested and charged with hooliganism, allegedly for assaulting an unidentified person. Speaking to Turan News Agency, Seymur Hazi's lawyer Elton Guliyev confirmed Seymur Hazi's arrest. Guliyev said Seymur Hazi has been detained as a suspect under Article 221.3 (hooliganism committed with a weapon or object used as a weapon) of the Criminal Code. The newspaper "Azadlig" reported that Seymur Hazi has been earlier attacked and beaten by an unknown assailant and that the police now was charging Seymur Hazi with assaulting that person. Seymur Hazi rejected the charges against him regarding those charges as fabricated by the police to justify the arrest. Seymur Hazi has a history of persecution by the Azerbaijani government, including previous periods of detention and torture. In 2005, Seymur Hazi had been kidnapped by a group of masked people who beat him, hang him from his feet and kept him in that position for over two hours, telling him to never write about the Azerbaijani president again (Azeri Report).

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Together A Lifetime, Azeri Activists Now Apart And In Jail

By Daisy Sindelar, RFE/RL

PRAGUE. August 29, 2014: Leyla and Arif Yunus met as young history students in the late 1970s, at a party hosted by one of their professors at Baku State University.

As the evening drew to a close, Arif offered to walk Leyla to the subway station. There was something about her he liked -- a lot. A week later, he appeared at her mother's doorstep, asking for Leyla's hand in marriage.

Dinara Yunusova, the couple's daughter, says her grandmother was startled by the abrupt proposal. "Usually in Azerbaijan, it's the elders who will come and ask for the hand of the daughter. But my dad came by himself," says Yunusova, 28. "My grandmother was shocked, but she said, 'It's her life.' My mother had already noticed him a few times at the university, even before the party, so I guess she liked him, too."

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Azerbaijan in International Media

"No Country for Human Rights: Azerbaijan's Increasingly Intolerant Regime," by Gunay Ismayilova and Samir Kazimli, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2014

"Time for Sanctions on Baku," by David J. Kramer and Richard Kauzlarich, The American Interest, Oct. 2, 2014

"Azerbaijan and Think Tanks," The New York Times, Sep. 6, 2014

"'The Hardest Part is I Can't See You' - Azeri Activist's Prison Letter to Jailed Husband," RFE/RL, Aug. 20, 2014

"Azerbaijan Prosecutes a Prominent Human Rights Defender on Absurd Charges," The Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2014

"Prominent Activist Charged With Treason in Azerbaijan," by Neil MacFarquhar, The New York Times, July 31, 2014

"Lawmakers' Trips to Baku Conference Raise Ethics Questions," by Will Tucker and Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle, Jul. 26, 2014

"Azerbaijan Counts Human Cost of Architecture," by Shahin Abbasov, The Guardian, July 14, 2014

"British MPs Taken on 'Caviar Trail' By Lobbyists Close to Azerbaijan's Coprrupt Dictatorship," by Jon Stone, BuzFeed.com, June 20, 2014

"Azerbaijan and Council of Europe: Do As We Say, Not As We Do," by G.E., The Economist, May 13, 2014

"Azerbaijan's Sponsorship of Atletico Proves Spectacular Success," by Owen Gibson, The Guardian, May 1, 2014

"Vugar Gashimov, Grandmaster of Chess, Dies at 27," by D. L. McClain, The New York Times, Jan. 12, 2014

"Authoritarian Regimes Retool Their Media-Control Strategy," by R. Orttung, C. Walker, The Washington Post, Jan. 10, 2014

"Hague's Azerbaijan Gas Pipeline Attacked," by Jim Armitage,The Independent, Dec. 17, 2013

"Azerbaijan's Leading Dailies Pay Steep Price for Criticizing the Regime," by Vugar Gojayev, Global Post, Dec. 13, 2013

"Plush Hotels and Caviar Diplomacy," by J. Doward and C. Latimer, The Guardian, Nov. 23, 2013

"Azerbaijan Is Absolutely Not A Model For Political Reform," by Mark Adomanis, Forbes, Nov. 20, 2013

"Free and fair elections are not just about the election day," by Maina Kiai, The Guardian, Oct. 29, 2013

"Azerbaijan Not the Stable, Prosperous U.S. Partner Often Portrayed," by Aslan Amani, The World Politics Review, Oct. 15, 2013

"Fairness an Issue, Even After Azerbaijan Votes," by David Herszenhorn, The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2013

"Azerbaijan Aliyev: Opponent Hasanli wants vote annulled," BBC News, Oct. 10, 2013

"Oops: Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started," by Max Fisher, The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2013

"Azerbaijan must use this election to end the Aliyev Dynasty," by Jamil Hasanli, The Guardian, October 8, 2013

"Azeri Leader Tied to U.S. Taps Oil Cash to Avoid Assad Fate," by Henry Meyer, Bloomberg, October 3, 2013

"Azerbaijan: How not to prepare for an election," The Economist, September 2, 2013

"Choices for the South Caucasus," by D. Corboy, W. Cortney, R. Kauzlarich, K. Yalowitz, The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2013

"Aliyev to Face Putin Before Azerbaijani Presidential Election," by Jamila Mammadova, Telegraph, Aug. 7, 2013

"Intimate video emerges, again, of reporter investigating Azerbaijan president's family," by Max Fisher, The Washington Post, August 7, 2013

"Director vs. Dictator," by Shaun Walker, The Independent, July 15, 2013

"How Azerbaijani is Like 'The Godfather,'" by Michael Weiss, The Atlantic, July 11, 2013

"Lobby Money Should Not Thwart US Support for Freedom in Azerbaijan," by E. Chakhtakhtinski, Global Post, June 28, 2013

"Azerbaijan Rolls Out Red Carpet for Visiting U.S. Lawmakers," by Larry Luxner, The Washington Diplomat, June 26, 2013

"The Great Pipeline Face-Off," by Art Patnaude, WSJ, June 21, 2013

"For Obama Ex-aides, It's Time to Cash In," by J. Eilperin and T. Hamburger, The Washington Post, May 30, 2013

"Iran Threatens Azerbaijan," by Alexandros Petersen, The National Interest, April 29, 2013

"A Trip Into Baku's 12th-Century Old City," Photogallery from RFE/RL, April 26, 2013

"Airmiles Andy is Back at the Despot's Table," by Nick Craven and Will Stewart, The Daily Mail, April 13, 2013

"News by and for the Authorities," by Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung, The New York Times, April 5, 2013

"Leaks Reveal Secrets of the Rich Who Hide Cash Offshore," by David Leigh, The Guardian, April 3, 2013

"EU's Problem Neighbors," by Rikard Jozwiak, RFE/RL, March 20, 2013

"Editor of Azerbaijan's Independent Newspaper Sentenced to 9 Years In Jail," The Washington Post, March 12, 2013

"Azerbaijan Police Use Rubber Bullets to Break Up Protest in Baku," The Washington Post, March 10, 2013

"As International Scrutiny Fades, Azerbaijan Scrambles to Silence Critics," by Rebecca Vincent, AlJazeera, March 6, 2013

"The Land of No Anti-Semitism," by Anshel Pleffer, Haaretz, March 1, 2013

"Inside The Department Of AliyevScience" - by Shahla Sultanova and Charles Recknagel, RFERL, Feb 24, 2013

"Azerbaijan is Rich. Now It Wants to be Famous," by Peter Savodnik, The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2013

"Novella's Sympathetic Portreyal of Armenians Causes Uproar in Azerbaijan," by Shahla Sultanova, The NY Times, Feb. 1, 2013

"On a Second Thought..." by Henry Grabar, The Atlantic Cities, Jan. 30, 2013

"Mexico: Statue of Ex-Leader of Azerbaijan Removed," The NY Times, Jan. 26, 2013

"Officials in Azerbaijan Claim to Restore Order to Rioting City," by Andrew Roth and Shahla Sultanova, The NY Times, Jan. 25, 2013

"Minor vehicle collision in Azerbaijan sparks mass riot, attack on local official’s son", The Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2013

"Mexico to Remove Controversial Statue to Former Azerbaijani President," The Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013

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Azerbaijan in International Reports

December 10, 2013: The Global Witness Report on Corruption in Azerbaijan's Oil Industry - "Azerbaijan Anonymous"

November 5, 2013 - European Stability Intiative Report on Azerbaijan's Presidential Elections - "Disgraced: Azerbaijan and the End of Election Monitoring as We Know It"

September 1, 2013 - HRW Report - "Tightening the Screws: "Azerbaijan's Crackdown on Civil Society and Dissent"

May 14, 2013 - Report of Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden based international human rights organization, on Human Rights Defenders in Azerbaijan

April 2013 - US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights in Azerbaijan

April 3, 2013 - ICIJ Report - Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

January 2013 - Annual Report on Human Rights Watch - Chapter on Azerbaijan

December 2012 - Freedom House - Nations in Transit - Azerbaijan Country Report

October 29, 2012 - Amnesty International Report "Azerbaijan: Human Rights Abuses Placed Under the E-Spotlight"

October 25, 2012 - "The Struggle for Internet Freedom in Azerbaijan," by Vugar Gojayev

September 27, 2012 - Report on "Local and Regional Democracy in Azerbaijan," The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe

May 24, 2012 - "Caviar Diplomacy: How Azerbaijan Silenced the Council of Europe. Part 1" - European Stability Initiative

May 9, 2012 - "Spotlight on Azerbaijan" - Foreign Policy Centre's Report on Human Rights Record of Azerbaijan

April 18, 2012 - EU Parliament's Resolution on EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement

April 18, 2012 - EU Parliament's Resolution on EU-Armenia Association Agreement

April 2, 2012 - Sandie Shaw Calls on Azerbaijani Government to Stop Harassing Journalists - Amnesty International Report

February 29, 2012 - "They took everything from me" Human Rights Watch Report on Forcible Evictions In Azerbaijan

February 20, 2012 - The Amnesty International Briefing on Human Rights In Azerbaijan

October 4, 2011 - Norwegian Helsinki Committee's Report on Political Prisoners In Azerbaijan

September 23, 2011 - Human Rights Watch Letter to Azerbaijani Minister of Justice On Disbarred Lawyers

April 12, 2013 - IPGA Statement on Political 2012-2013 Political Persecutions in Azerbaijan

April 8, 2011 - US State Department's Human Rights Report on Azerbaijan for 2010

March 7, 2011 - Amensty International: Azerbaijan Must Halt Crackdown On Protest Organizers

February 15, 2011 - CPJ Report "Attacks on the Press 2010: Azerbaijan"

January 27, 2011 - ODIHR/OSCE Final Report on Azerbaijani Parliamentary Elections of Nov. 2010

November 8, 2010: ODIHR/OSCE Preliminary Statement on Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Elections

October 30, 2010: ODIHR/OSCE Second Interim Report on Azerbaijani Elections

October 26, 2010: HRW Report - Azerbaijan: Beaten, Blacklisted and Behind Bars

October 21, 2010: Azerbaijan: Free Expression Under Attack

September 2010 - Article 19 Report - Living As Dissidents: Freedom of Expression In Azerbaijan

September 3, 2010 - International Crisis Group Report: "Azerbaijan: Vulnerable Stability"

March 2010 - Resource Nationalism Trends In Azerbaijan - PETROSAM Program of Reasearch Council of Norway

March 11, 2010 - U.S. State Department's 2009 Report on Azerbaijan

February 24, 2010 - Global Integrity Report on Corruption in Azerbaijan

February 16, 2010 - NHC Report: "Nakhchivan: Azerbaijan's Dark Island"

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Linked Info

"Your Government May Be Corrupt, But Is It Azerbaijan-Corrupt?" - Buzzfeed.com. June 11, 2014

"Azerbaijan's photographers: Capturing the raw truth" by R. Jafarov and R. Vincent, Index on Censorship, October 11, 2013

Aliyev's Cultural Spending Spree - by Emma, Platformlondon.org - May 16, 2013

OCCRP Names Aliyev "Person of the Year" - Dec. 31, 2012

"Sudden, Violent Demonstration Erupts In Northern Azerbaijan," by Karl Rahder, FPB, March 2, 2012

"Azerbaijan: Early 20th Century Satirical Magazine Offers Edgy Exploration of Eurasia," Eurasianet.org, Nov. 24, 2011

US Amb. Ross Wilson's Speech at the Atlantic Council Conference On Europian Energy - June 1, 2011

"Azerbaijan: Prominent Lawyer Disbarred, Youth Activist Arrested," by Karl Rahder, FPB, Feb. 6, 2011

"Azerbaijan Backtracks in Ukranian Organ Transplant Investigation," Eurasianet.org, Dec. 3, 2010

"More Troubles In Baku, Local Press Reports On "Magic Tree"," by Karl Rahder, FPB, June 20, 2010

"Azerbaijan Grapples With New Media Freedom," by Karl Rahder, ISN, June 7, 2010

"A Journalism (r)evolution in Azerbaijan," by Mark Briggs, Lost Remote, May 24, 2010

"IMF: The Party Is Over For Azerbaijan," by Shahin Abbasov, Eurasianet. org, May 24, 2010

"Alienating Azerbaijan?" by Karl Rahder, International Relations and Security Network, Apr. 27, 2010

"Colors and Flowers... and Soviet Spoils," by Ben Tanosborn, April 27, 2010

"The U.S. and the Persecution of Azerbaijan's Bloggers," by Joshua Kucera, trueslant.comm Nov. 11, 2009

"Story of a Father and Son," Frontline Club, Sep 28, 2009

"Hooligans?," RSF about arrested youth activists in Azerbaijan, July 11, 2009

"I Rule Here and Blind Democrats in Europe," by Ilgar Mammadov, REAL, June 27, 2009

Azerbaijan Marks Anniversary Of Its First Republic - Frontline Club, May 29, 2009

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely - by Farid Guliyev, ResetDoc.org, April 16, 2009

So Much For Azerbaijani Democracy - by Michael J. Totten, Commentary Magazine, Oct. 21, 2008

Azerbaijan: Election Day Proves A Snooze - by Mina Muradova, Eurasia Insight, Oct. 15, 2008

Finding Elmar's Killers. Azerbaijan Special Report - by Nina Ognianova, CPJ, Sep. 16, 2008

Azerbaijani Opposition Mulls Presidential Election Boycott - by Liz Fuller

Naxcivan: More Tales From Azerbaijan's North Korea

It's National Press Day in Azerbaijan, But There's Little Cause For Celebration

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Videos

May 16, 2014: Radio Azadliq Interview with U.S. Amb. to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar: "Who Will Stand up for Azerbaijan's Independence?"

November 22, 2013 - AZAD's Event: "The Quest for Democracy in Azerbaijan: Conversation with Jamil Hasanli"

November 7, 2013 - AZAD'S Event: "The Perils of Content with Azerbaijan: Is Status-Quo Sustainable for the West's Favorite 'Gas Station'?"

October 27, 2013 - National Council's Protest Rally in Baku

October 16, 2013 - U.S. Investor Jailed After Whistleblowing on Corrupt Business Deals With Azerbaijan

September 30, 2013 - "Concernus Theatricus": Azeri Youth TV Pokes US Ambassador Morningstar

July 31, 2013 - House Demolition in Khutor, Baku

July 2, 2013 - President Ilham Aliyev's speech in front of the Azerbaijani Police Forces

June 13, 2013: Harlem Shake Protest in Front of Azerbaijani Embassy in London

March 29, 2013 - Battle to Save Homes from Demolition in Baku

January 24, 2013 - Ismayilli Protests Continue

January 23, 2013 - Popular Uprising in Ismayilli

January 23, 2013 - Amazing Azerbaijan! Short Film

January 12, 2013 - Baku Protests Against Soldier Jeyhun Gubadov's Death

December 20, 2012 - British MP Helen Goodman Attacks Human Rights Record of Azerbaijan

December 19, 2012 - AZAD Forum "Azerbaijan's Untapped Potential for the West: Engaging Azerbaijani Society as a US Ally"

December 10, 2012 - Azeri Police Arrests... Government Supporter at Opposition Rally

December 10, 2012 - Public Chamber's Protest Action in Downtown Baku

October 20, 2012 - Opposition Protesters Demand Dissolution of Azerbaijani Parliament

October 1, 2012 - Million Dollar Bribe for a Parliamentary Seat: Secret Cam Recording with English Subtitles

More Videos...

Photos

Photo Essay on Heydar Aliyev's Cult of Personality in Azerbaijan - February 19, 2013

Popular Uprising in Ismayilli - January 23, 2013

Public Chamber's Rally - April 22, 2012

Youth Protest Rally in Bayil - March 12, 2012

Anti-French Protests In Baku - January 25, 2012

Youth Protests in Downtown Baku - December 3, 2011

Rally of the Public Chamber of the Azeri Opposition - June 19, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Demoracy In Stockholm, Sweden - June 18, 2011

Public Champer Marks the Republic Day - May 28, 2011

April 17 Rally of Azeri Opposition - April 17, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Democracy in Den Haag - April 6, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Democracy in Strasbourg - April 2, 2011

Rally of Azerbaijani Democratic Forces - April 2, 2011

Free Azerbaijan Rally of AZAD - March 19, 2011

Musavat Rally Against Aliyev Regime - March 12, 2011

Youth Protests Against Aliyev Regime - March 11, 2011

Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan Commemorated M.A. Rasulzade - January 31, 2011

Hijab Protest In Nardaran - December 18, 2010

Parliamentary Elections In Azerbaijan - November 7, 2010

Azeri Diaspora In Netherlands Protested Against Ilham Aliyev's Regime - November 5, 2010

PFPA and Musavat's Joint Rally In Baku - July 31, 2010

Azeri Opposition's Protest Action In Baku - July 3, 2010

Azadlig Bloc Held "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 19, 2010

Musavat and Union for Democracy Held "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 12, 2010

Azadlig Bloc's "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 5, 2010

International Act of Protest for Eynulla Fatullayev In Front of Azeri Embassy - June 3, 2010

Azadlig Bloc's Rally In Novkhani - May 28, 2010

Protest of Azadlig Bloc in Baku - May 15, 2010

Protest of Azadlig bloc in Baku - April 26, 2010

Surprise Youth Protest Action in Baku - Nov. 22, 2009

U.S. Azeris Commemorate Oil Academy Shooting Victims - May 10, 2009

Student Protests In Baku - May 10, 2009

Mirza Sakit Released From Jail - April 9, 2009

Azeris Marked Khojali Massacre In Front of Armenian Embassy - February 25, 2009

AZAD Holds Protest Rally In New York Against Unlimited Presidency in Azebaijan - January 9, 2009

AZAD Holds Protest Rally in Washington DC Against Unlimited Presidency in Azerbaijan - Dec. 30, 2008

Protests Against Constitutional Changes in Azerbaijan - Dec. 24, 2008

Ganja Celebrates Ilham Aliyev's Birthday - Dec. 24, 2008

Jailed Azeri Journalists, Brothers Ganimat and Sakit Zahidov at Their Fathers Funeral

Sacrifice Holiday in Azerbaijan - December 8, 2008

Military Parade in Baku - June 26, 2008