About 80 people in the capital of Azerbaijan were detained in the Saturday’s protest against the repressions over the people of Ismayilli district. Among the detained were famous journalists and civil society activists, the head of the Legal Education Society Intigam Aliyev, the head of the Regional Resource Centre for Development of NGOs and Democracy Malakhat Nasibova, her husband a human rights activist and journalist Ilgar Nasibov, Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and others, Azerbaijani news agency “Turan” reports.
The report says that the police acted violently against the detainees, even after they were put into buses. Thus, the police fired tear gas into the cabin of the bus, where Malahat Nasibova, Ilgar Nasibov and about 30 other people were put in, including journalists from pro-governmental media. The bus windows were locked. Drivers were told to drive quickly. However, as a result of being poisoned he felt sick, and had an accident on his way running over a foreign car.
Three protesters were sentenced to administrative arrests for a period of 13 to 15 days. Blogger and former political prisoner Emin Milli was sentenced to 15 days in jail for taking part in an uncoordinated protest, youth activists of Popular Front of Azerbaijan (PFPA) Abulfaz Gurbanli and Turkel Azertyurk were sentenced to 13 days in jail. Another 15 people were subjected to administrative penalties, the report said. Deputy Chairman of PPFA Gozel Bayramli and activist of the party Kamala Bananyarly are to pay fine of around $ 2,000 manats (about $ 2550). Turgut Gambar activist of “NIDA” youth movement was fined of 2,500 manats (about $ 3180). All three were found organizers of the action.
As the Azerbaijani service of Radio “Liberty” reports, by the decision of the Sabail District Court investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova was fined of 400 manats (about $ 510).
The human rights organization Human Rights House has condemned the arrests of protesters in the capital of Azerbaijan, and is now waiting for the reaction of PACE, OSCE, Council of Europe’s Commissioner and rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in concern with the arrests of human rights defenders and journalists in Baku, “Turan” says.
Unrests in Ismailli district began at the evening of January 23, after an accident in which the nephew of the head of Nizami Alekperov and son of the Minister of Labor Fizuli Alekperov – Vugar Alekperov – were involved. His car crashed into another car, Alekperov then began to insult the local residents. According to one of Ismayilli residents, relative of the minister took a pack of money out of his pocket and said: “You have no dignity (geyret), I can buy your mothers and sisters for this money.”
Information about the insults spread through the district and angry residents began to smash the commercial entities of Alekperov’s family up. Internal troops and Special Forces were involved in the incident. They fired rubber bullets and tear gas. As a result of clashes many people were arrested and dozens injured.
Ismayilli region is located in the north of Azerbaijan and is bordered by Guba region, where in March 2012 the population rioted against lawlessness of Azerbaijani officials. Ismayilli region just like Guba, is also included in the historical area of indigenous nations of Azerbaijan. According to the official census on population of Azerbaijan in 2009, population of Ismayilli district was 79 330 people of which 8076 were Lezgins. As the Lezgins claim their number is significantly lowered.