Front News International

Front News International


-It is easy to be jailed in our country for the political opinion posted on the social network. You spent about six years in Azerbaijani prisons. It's too much. How can a decent, socially active person survives in the places of detention, how to preserve dignity and not to break.

- I think there are several ways to protect yourself in the emergency conditions of prison life. One way is to understand that the guards, prison system managers are far from sympathetic to the fact that you are there. Some of them directly sympathize with your political activities. There are many of them to make it relevant for your survival. It is necessary to respect those who are in places of detention by the will of fate. Not all convicted and suspected, even if they committed a crime, are bad people. Often the cause of a crime is social injustice in life. It happens that a person is forced to commit an offense, does not control himself, then regrets. If he had remained at liberty, he would have been much more valuable to society than others. But this is life. I often felt protected by guards and prisoners who sympathized with my social and political activities. People on a personal level sympathize with anyone who goes against the unjust system of power, the wrong social structure. This is a protest on a human level, relevant to the survival of political prisoners. Protection by the guards is mostly informational support, whispering important information to me, which is important and helps me navigate. But at the same time they were cruel to me.

- What can you do there not to worsen your position?

- There are a lot of bans, except for official prison orders. In prisons one cannot violate the customs of the prison community. In some cases, you limit yourself to match your status as a political figure. Such people are respected by prisoners and guards, even carrying out illegal repressive actions on my behalf. I cannot complain about the disrespect by prisoners and guards, even if they carried out illegal and repressive measures against me.

- Did you connected your family?

- Twice a week I was allowed to talk with my family for 15 minutes; it"s not allowed to call anywhere else by law. The telephone conversation was tapped, not even by one department. Twice a month I could meet with my family. I did not see how my daughter was growing up. She was 9 years old when I first went to prison, and now when I returned home she is 15.

Periodically, I was deprived of the right to talk on the telephone, as a reaction of the authorities to an international campaign in my support. In 2015, for a month and a half I was forbidden to call, sometimes restricted, allowing me to call once a week. In 2014, when I was in Sheki, I myself did not allow my family to come there, since Sheki is far from Baku. For a year I have not seen my child twice. Then they brought me to jail number two in Baku. By the repressive actions against me they wanted make me understand my worthlessness and helplessness, to humiliate me, to show complete power over me, wanted me give up, sign an appeal for pardon, repentance, confess guilt or something this kind of. I had to understand how they thought that no one in the world was capable of going against the government that was repressing my person. It was not always; it was from time to time.

At first I spent the day in the temporary detention center in Baku. Then about 10 months I spent in the Kurdakhani district detention center. Then, for two months, I was kept in the Ganja remand prison, from where I was taken to the Sheki court, on the way I was in the detention centers of Yevlakh and Mingachevir. Then I was transferred to Sheki prison for 10 months. Then, after the verdict came into force, in my biography, I was in the Shuvelyan isolator, and at the end they brought me to Bina, jail N2, for permanent detention. Eight institutions are enough to understand the places of detention in our country. I cannot compare these institutions, because sometimes there was a bad condition of content, but a good attitude of people, and vice versa. I will not give out, working there.

- Has society changed over the period when you were in imprisonment?

- I notice a change. For six years, there has been a deterioration in the standard of living, two devaluations of the manat, a decrease in incomes of the population. People have become much more attentive to the critical attitude towards power. If earlier society did not listen to what we said, now society is even more critical to power than political parties. This distinguishes an objectively emerging socio-political climate today compared to six years ago. The society is dissatisfied enough that the oppositional socio-political party can plan its activities with more confidence.

- What is your current status? What can you do and what is forbidden?

- The authorities even increased my punishment in terms of time. Initially, my conclusion was determined at seven years. Then, allegedly, in their opinion, the authorities accepted a compromise with the European structures, demanding the execution of the European Court"s decision on my release, and simply let me go conditionally. But at the same time increased my sentence term to seven and a half years. I had a year and a half before the end of my term, and now I live at home for two years, I can"t leave the country, change my place of residence without informing the authorities, every 10 days I have to register at the probation office and demonstrate by my behavior that I have taken the path of correction. These restrictions are noted in terms of my conditional release. It follows that until August 2026 I cannot be nominated in the parliamentary and presidential elections as a candidate.

- Why is this term appointed? Will the current government leave after 2026? Does your interview mean that you did not take the path of correction?

- They can keep in mind many things. It is the authorities who must correct, not us. I proved my innocence twice in the European Court. The government appealed twice, and with the help of lawyers, I twice won the appeal. I want to thank the lawyers Fuad Agayev, Javad Javadov, Khalid Bagirov, who was dismissed from the Bar Association because of my defense, and Shahla Humbatova. They, led by Fuad Agayev, helped me to win the European Court and to survive in prison.

- Is it possible to cancel a new sentence?

- We are now filing an appeal. This is a tragicomic situation, since my case will be considered in the Supreme Court fourth time. Three times the Supreme Court was used to create an expectation in European organizations, that is, to delay the process. For the fourth time, the authorities use this technique. The authorities do not want to admit their wrongfulness in the European Court, therefore they are pulling with the last decision. They are just embarrassed to admit their clumsiness, rude and proven falsification of my case.

The international press does not speak much about this, but for the first time, the Article 46.4 of the European Convention on Human Rights is involved in the European Court. The initiation of this Article means the initiation of proceedings against Azerbaijan, which violated my rights. Now I am not in the European Court, but the governments of 47 states have initiated the process against Azerbaijan. After the decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court, theoretically, Azerbaijan could be deprived of membership in the Council of Europe.

- How do you see the place of Azerbaijan taking into account democratic reforms in Georgia and Armenia? How do we look from the outside, or should we be proud, because television speaks of successful democratization?

- There is nothing to be proud of. From the country of the nineties - the beginning of the two thousandth years, when we had a good socio-economic life, with powerful democratic traditions, more developed than in Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine, Azerbaijan has turned into a country that is in the tail of democratic progress. Now we have to solve several tasks simultaneously: democratization, return of the occupied territories and healthy integration into the world economic system, since Azerbaijan has actually become a raw materials appendage not only of Europe, but of all countries that need oil and gas; 90% of the country's GDP is produced in Baku.

- Saudi journalist was killed by the monarchical government, and the United States is silent, because America is a strategic partner of Saudi Arabia. Doesn"t the same thing happen in Azerbaijan where the opposition is subjected to repression, but democratic countries are more interested in our energy resources?

- I would not blame the world as a whole for neglecting the democratic processes in our country. The world consists of different people, countries and interests. Democracy in Azerbaijan first of all is our concern. When you argue, blaming the world, you lose the desire to talk about our own responsibility for the lack of democratic development in Azerbaijan. And going back to a Saudi journalist, I will say that it is too early to put an end. Sanctions against Saudi Arabia must be of such depth and scope that the Saudi Arabia could not use its trump card as blackmail against the world community - the price of oil. The development of such a punishment is now taking place in order to neutralize the appetites of people who plan to use the oil factor for their political goals.

- The analytical group of the "Karabakh" committee issued its conclusion, according to which allegedly there are rumors in the society about imminent democratization in Azerbaijan, as a response to events in Armenia. The analytical group writes that our government will even attract the opposition to rule the country.

- So far the power attracts us only to criminal liability, I can say that for sure. Such analytics does not convince us. The government feels very comfortable, having a fat reserve of $ 40 billion in the Oil Fund. I don"t even see any prerequisites for believing that power opens up the country for democratic forces. We have missed a lot of time in democratic development, and it is high time to start acting, but, alas ...

- The emergence of Nikol Pashinyan in the Caucasian political arena put Azerbaijan in a new situation in the Karabakh process. Is the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan doing the right thing?

- The Foreign Ministry does not solve much; the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister is simply implementing the policy dictated by the general situation in the country. Pashinyan"s belligerent rhetoric expires from his personal feeling that the world views Armenia as an island of democracy, while Azerbaijan remains an oil dictatorship. And Yerevan can use it. I think that fair mediators could have discarded him from such attempts. But Azerbaijan itself should learn from what is happening in Armenia, taking into account our situation in the Karabakh settlement. We must destroy the ideas of the world about democracy in Armenia and the dictatorship in Azerbaijan. The only way is to stop us being an oil dictatorship.

- You are the chairman of the party REAL, not registered in the Ministry of Justice. What future do you plan for your party?

- For us, participation in election cycles is important. In November 2020, there will be parliamentary elections, this is our main landmark now. We have enough time to prepare and win the next parliamentary elections to be held in two years. Winning means gaining a majority, at least a relative, of deputy seats. This is a real goal taking into account the mood in society. There can be extraordinary parliamentary elections, then we have less time for good preparation. Our task in this case is to obtain the possibility of creating our faction in parliament. I don"t know when the presidential elections will be now, after all, I. Aliyev extended the five-year presidency to seven years, without waiting for the completion of his five-year period. But there may be unexpected choices, when this happens - it's hard to say. We must be ready for them. Of course, I will nominate my candidacy. We are asked: Republican Alternative is an alternative to what? We are a republican alternative to the power of one family, looking at which you see an analogy with absolute, non-constitutional monarchies of the 18th century. We need to demonstrate our alternative at all legal sites.

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