The Alexander Lapshin Case: Extradited and Imprisoned in Azerbaijan over Telling the Truth about Nagorno-Karabakh
The Alexander Lapshin Case: Extradited and Imprisoned in Azerbaijan over Telling the Truth about Nagorno-Karabakh
A group of Azerbaijani political opponents published a list of 94 persons considered political opponents imprisoned in Azerbaijan. Among them 6 journalists and bloggers, two public figures, lawyers, 5 young “activists”, 5 members of opposition parties and 61 people imprisoned for their religious beliefs. But according to other sources, the list of political opponents languishing in prisons of Azerbaijan is much higher and reach hundreds or even thousands of members. “Given the situation in the country, many prefer to stay and act in secret. The situation of human rights is worrying, “say the members of the opposition group that published the list of 94 people imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs.
Thirteen suspects, including ten Turks, were charged and jailed Sunday night in Istanbul for “membership of a terrorist organization”, in connection with the triple suicide bombing that killed 45 people on Tuesday in the airport of the Turkish megapolis, reported Dogan news agency.
The suspects are also accused of “undermining the unity of the state and the people” and “intentional homicide”, the agency said, without specifying the nationality of the foreigners.
As part of the investigation, police arrested 29 people “including foreigners,” said Sunday the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters.
“All will be revealed in time, we are conducting a broad investigation into the matter,” he added.
The governorate of Istanbul for his part said Sunday in a statement that 49 people were still treated, including 17 in intensive care. The Turkish authorities had reported on Thursday a record of foreigners among 19 killed, without giving a precise count.
The attack, the fourth and the deadliest in Turkey since the beginning of the year, has still not been claimed but Turkish officials have pointed to the Islamic State group (EI).
The authorities said that suicide bombers were a Russian, an Uzbek and Kyrgyz while the Anadolu agency, she has advanced the names of Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, without specifying their nationality. The former Soviet republics of Central Asia are among the most important providers jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
Turkish media have identified a Chechen Akhmed Chataev named as the mastermind of the bombing of the airport. It would be the head of EI in Istanbul, the daily Hurriyet.
Moreover, a team of 80 members of the special police forces started from Sunday to patrol the airport in question, one of the busiest in Europe, and its terminals, according to media.
After forcing out his prime minister, President Erdogan muzzles the press
CAN DUNDAR saw the shooter approach and take aim at his legs. “He drew his gun, called me a traitor, and began firing,” he says, recalling the scene on May 6th outside an Istanbul courthouse, where he and a colleague have been standing trial. His wife grabbed the gunman, and Mr Dundar (pictured, right), one of Turkey’s best-known journalists, survived unscathed. Just hours later, he was sentenced to nearly six years in jail for publishing details of covert Turkish arms shipments to Syrian insurgents in Cumhuriyet, the newspaper where he served as editor-in-chief. The paper’s Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul (pictured, left), was sentenced to five years. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had called on the pair to “pay a heavy price” for revealing state secrets, has kept mum about the attack. Pro-government newspapers suggested it had been staged to attract sympathy for its target.
These are dark days for journalism in Turkey. The latest press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders puts the country in 151st place, between Tajikistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Censorship is the industry standard. News reports from the Kurdish southeast, where clashes between armed separatists and Turkish security forces have claimed more than a thousand lives since last summer, increasingly resemble army propaganda. The dead are referred to either as “martyrs” or “terrorists”; civilians, at least 250 of whom have been killed in the fighting, are seldom mentioned.
Journalists are routinely sacked or dragged through the courts. In late April two columnists, also from Cumhuriyet, were given prison terms for republishing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Mr Dundar blames Mr Erdogan and his government. “Most of our media [have] already surrendered,” he says. “Now they are trying to silence the rest.”
The departure of prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hounded into resigning last week, and the pending appointment of a more pliant successor, will make that task easier. For over a year, Mr Erdogan has been pushing for constitutional changes that will give him sweeping new powers. He is now ratcheting up his campaign to transform Turkey’s system of government from a parliamentary to presidential one. “At this point,” he said in a speech on May 6th, “there is no turning back.”
To get those changes, he will need an early election, a referendum, or both. But it may no longer matter. With Mr Davutoglu out of the way, one of the last checks on Mr Erdogan’s power is gone. “This effectively marks the end of parliamentary democracy in Turkey,” says one political strategist. “Davutoglu may not have been a huge reformist, but the fact that he was in the system gave people some reassurance that things would not lead in the direction of one-man rule,” says Asli Aydintasbas of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank. That reassurance is now gone.
A deal that promised visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens, in exchange for a range of reforms and a commitment to stem illegal migration to Europe, offered some hope of emboldening the reformists in the Turkish government. That deal is now hanging on by a thread.
Mr Erdogan seems more than happy to snap it. In his speech, the Turkish leader slammed Europe for asking Turkey to amend its laws against terrorism, which are increasingly used to prosecute Kurdish activists and other critics, including Mr Dundar. “The EU says: you will change the anti-terror law for visas,” he said. “Pardon me, but we are going our way and you can go yours.”
The international organisation “Committee to Protect Journalists” (CPJ) compiled a list of journalists imprisoned for their work. Azerbaijan and Turkey are among the top 10 worst jailers of journalists in the world in 2014. The statement is posted on the official website of the organization.
“In Azerbaijan, authorities were jailing nine journalists, up one from the previous year. Amid a crackdown on traditional media, some activists took to social networking sites in an attempt to give the public an alternative to state media. CPJ’s list does not include at least four activists imprisoned in Azerbaijan this year for creating and managing Facebook groups on which they and others posted a mix of commentary and news articles about human rights abuses and allegations of widespread corruption,” the statement reads,” the statement notes.
CPJ’s list is a snapshot of those incarcerated on December 1, 2014. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year. The Committee to Protect Journalists identified 220 journalists in jail around the world in 2014, an increase of nine from 2013. China takes the first place in the list with 44 journalists, and the second place belongs to neighboring Iran with 30 journalist held in prisons. Twenty percent, or 45, of the journalists imprisoned globally were being held with no charge disclosed.
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Sevan Nichanian – Armenian intellectual, a citizen of Turkey, civil rights activist, former columnist for the liberal newspaper Taraf and bilingual weekly Agos, and eminent linguist – is imprisoned in Turkey in harsh conditions of confinement since January 2, 2014 . It is a situation that can only be described as psychological torture, and his health is deteriorating. The International Committee Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nişanyan [Nichanian] appealed to international agencies and organizations of human rights, and invites wider public to fight for the elimination of coercion and restrictions as facing the Armenian journalist. Liberty and Justice for Sevan Nichanian [Nişanyan]! Collectif VAN, a member of the support committee, relayed by the campaign.
International Committee Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nichanian [Nişanyan]
Urgent appeal to organizations of human rights
May 31, 2014
Sevan Nichanian – Armenian intellectual, a citizen of Turkey, civil rights activist, former columnist for the liberal newspaper Taraf and bilingual weekly Agos, and eminent linguist – is imprisoned in Turkey in harsh conditions of confinement since January 2, 2014 .
The severity and disproportion of the sentence against this intellectual, the continued deterioration of prison conditions, and the imminent threat of new charges and new trials led a group of representatives of civil society and intellectuals to meet and form the International Committee Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nichanian.
Our committee considers imprisonment Nichanian as a travesty of justice and an unacceptable punitive measure that threaten the right of individuals to freedom of thought. The Committee considers that the imprisonment of Nichanian is the obvious manifestation of prejudice and malice. This gross mistreatment is motivated by the fact that this is a dissident intellectual who fights against bad theories and the official historiography generated by the mind (to use that term with indulgence) of the State Turkish.
The International Committee Freedom and Justice for Sevan Nichanian called the Turkish authorities to immediately release Nichanian and to end the campaign of intimidation, harassment and cruelty against him.
The Committee appealed to international agencies and organizations with rights and invites wider public opinion to condemn these acts and to fight for the elimination of coercion and restrictions faced by Sevan Nichanian, in campaigning for freedom of Sevan.
The Committee calls on all sensitive individuals, organizations and citizens of Turkey, to support one of them, an intellectual who was a victim of relentless repressive machinery of the state, who championed multiculturalism and fought for that be able to prevail and prosper, and has been a model in this regard for his fellow citizens.
The committee believes that, in a country where illegal construction is widespread, and where almost all government facilities are built illegally, it is only a pretext to imprison an outspoken critic under the charges of violation of prohibition of construction. Sevan Nichanian is in conditions that can only be described as psychological torture, and his health is deteriorating. Therefore, the Committee requests the assistance of all international organizations of human rights to redress the situation of Sevan Nichanian by restoring his rightful freedom.
Translation: Collectif VAN
(Nota Bene: The Turkish spelling is Nişanyan Sevan Sevan Nishanian in English and in French Nichanian Sevan.)
Liberty and Justice for Sevan Nichanian [Nişanyan]
Ali Ertem, Anjel Dikme Ara Baliozian, Atilla Dirim, Attila Tuygan, Baskin Oran, Can Baskent, Dalita Roger Hacyan, David Gaunt, Doğan Özgüden, Metin Erkan Erol Özkoray, Esther Schulz-Goldstein, Fikret Baskaya, Gerayer Koutcharian, Gurgen Khandjyan Hrant Kasparyan, Hrach Kalsahakian, Hranush Kharatyan Ibrahim Seven Ischkhan Chiftjian Ismail Beşikçi, Karine Khutikyan, KM-Mahmut Konuk Mesut Tufan, Nadya Uygun, Nurhan Becidyan, Perj Zeytuntsyan Raffi Hermonn Arax, Ramazan Gezgin Sait Cetinoglu Sako Aryan, Séta Papazian, Sevak Artsruni, Sibel Ozbudun, Sirri Sureyya Onder, Taner Akcam, Tessa Hofmann, Tigran Paskevitchyan, Demirer, Tzourou Ira, Vahagn Chakhalyan Vartan Tashjian, Yalcin Ergundogan, Zeynep Tanbay.
Liberty and Justice for Nişanyan [Nichanian]
Eschenheimer Anlage 20 AD – 60318 Frankfurt
Turkey: Can Cetinoglu. Tel: + 905 32 71 84 644; E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Armenia: Sako Aryan. Tel: + 374 77 79 24 64; E mail: email@example.com
Middle East: Hrach Kalsahakian. Tel: + 971 50 614 4787; E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Germany: Ali Ertem. Tel: +49 69 59 70 813; E mail: email@example.com
France: Séta Papazian. Tel: + 33 1 77 62 70 77; E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
USA: Nadya UYGUN. Tel: + 1 239 304 18 49; E mail: email@example.com