Public Committee for Freedom for Mehman Aliyev Being Created

Baku / 26.08.17 / Turan: The decision to create a public committee for Freedom for Mehman Aliyev was made at a meeting of representatives of political forces, civil society, media and families of political prisoners in the headquarters of the Musavat Party today. The meeting was organized by the Political Prisoners Protection Center.

The Center"s representative, journalist Avaz Zeynalov, opening the meeting, noted that the arrest of the Director of Turan News Agency Mehman Aliyev showed that there is no place for people with independent thinking in Azerbaijan anymore.

The Head of the National Strategic Thought Center, Isa Gambar, expressed the opinion that Aliyev"s arrest is connected with the forthcoming deepening of the crisis phenomena in the country at the end of this year and in 2018.

In his opinion, the news and analytical publications of Turan Agency and Aliyev without pathos, but with facts and figures showed how difficult the situation in the country is and the reasons that have led to it, and first of all, poor management.

Gambar believes the authorities pursued several goals by Aliyev"s arrest. The first is to strangle the freedom of the press. The second is that the crisis deepens in Azerbaijan and in such a situation there should not be independently thinking people here. The third is a message to the international community.

"The authorities played a long game when they used political prisoners for bargaining with the international community. In this bargaining, they periodically released some people, seeking positive assessments from the world community. But recently, the international community has ceased to play this game. And in order to impose these rules of power, they decided to arrest such an internationally known journalist as Mehman Aliyev," Gambar said.

He proposed the creation of a public committee to protect Aliyev"s rights.

The leader of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan Ali Kerimli in his turn expressed the opinion that Aliyev was arrested because he did not give up his independent position to the end.

Kerimli believes it will be impossible to protect individual political prisoners "until the country is saved from the regime." In his view, the arrest of such a well-known journalist and public figure as Mehman Aliyev is the government"s message to the people that any independent thinker can be in prison.

Kerimli also indicated that by arresting Aliyev, the authorities have sent a message to the international community that they ignore the entire previous calls for other political prisoners and make it clear that, using the oil factor, they intend to rule the country as they want.

In his view, as long as the US, the EU and the Council of Europe do not switch to concrete measures from statements and resolutions, the authorities will continue repressions.

He called for a mass social movement, as the policy of the authorities infringes the rights and interests of everyone.

In the country, out of 4.6 million working age people only 1.5 million work and 57 percent of them work for less than 300 manats of salary.

The head of the Musavat Party, Arif Hajili, called on the political forces to consolidate and coordinate their actions, since otherwise they will not be able to resist repression and achieve changes in the country.

He noted that in 2018 presidential elections will be held, and if now the situation in the country does not change, the authorities will conduct them according to the usual scenario.

"We must act. If we cannot hold a rally involving 10,000 people, then let"s hold a five-thousand-strong rally. If we cannot do this, we will organize a picket with the participation of 100 people. But in any case it is necessary to act. The inaction is similar to death," Hajili said.

The head of the People"s Party, Panah Huseyn, said the arrest of Mehman Aliyev was carried out on the direct order of President Ilham Aliyev. He proposed to hold a meeting demanding the release of political prisoners in mid-September.

The wife of the arrested Director of Internet TV Channel-13 Aziza Orujova, Lamia Orujova, noted that after the suspension of the activities of this channel and Turan Agency in Azerbaijan, there is already "court journalism" engaged in chanting the power.

The head of the Talysh Cultural Center and the Tolyshon Sado newspaper Rafig Jalilov suggested that in addition to setting up a public committee, they should post messages with the slogan Freedom to Political Prisoners on a mass scale in social networks.

The Head of the Public Alliance Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners Ogtay Gulaliyev reported that he receives memos from currently jailed political prisoners who condemn the arrest of Mehman Aliyev. He recalled that Aliyev actively participated in the protection of the rights of a large number of political prisoners.

"Mehman Aliyev was always close to those who suffered from lawlessness and was in trouble.

He is an absolutely unselfish person," Gulaliyev said.

Representatives of believers also made speeches during the meeting, and the human rights activist Emin Huseynov, who is in political emigration, also joined them by Skype.

As a result of the discussions, a decision was made to create a public committee for Freedom for Mehman. Isa Gambar, Arif Hajili, Panah Huseyn, Rafig Jalilov, Neymat Panahly and others expressed their readiness to take part in it. Participation in the public committee is open.

On August 28 it is expected to hold the first meeting of the public committee, under which a working group will also act. -06D--

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