Activists Appeal to Ilham Aliyev

Baku / 17.07.18 / Turan: Members of the Solidarity for Justice Committee established by a group of civil society activists at today's press conference adopted an appeal to President Ilham Aliyev, expressing concern over the latest developments in the country.

"Azerbaijan is our common ship, and any malfunction in it can lead to the drowning of all. Naturally, all the flaws on the ship should be eliminated by the Captain," the appeal says.

The authors express concern over the fact that, following the "energy crisis" in Mingachevir, the Gence events occurred.

The blackout showed that no investment was invested in the energy system in Mingachevir, and the station worked with old equipment. And in general, the USD 7-9 billion invested in the energy sector did not yield any result.

During the blackout, the power plants built in recent years did not work, and alternative energy sources were not launched.

The authors believe that paralysis of the power system resulted from the irresponsibility of officials, as it already happened before. They express the hope that a thorough investigation will be conducted and the perpetrators will be punished.

The events in Gence immediately after the Mingachevir blackout cause concern.

The reaction of the population to the shooting of the head of Gence Elmar Veliyev showed serious problems in the management of the provinces of the country.

The armed attack on the head of Gence is even more alarming in connection with the implementation of this attack during the "energy crisis" - when the country plunged into darkness.

Not providing timely information to the population, the distribution of Safarov's photo with signs of torture, as well as the varying statements of MPs and high-ranking officials gave grounds to inappropriate and disturbing rumors.

The authors of the appeal strongly condemn the attempt on the head of Gence, considering it unacceptable to use weapons. However, it is also impossible to pass by this event.

The state has to punish criminals, but the reasons that led to the crime have to be investigated.

The reasons for why, despite numerous publications and alarming signals about Veliyev's misbehavior, such an official remained in office, have to be investigated.

Not only in Gence, but also in most other cities and districts, the heads of administrations treat people badly, and they do not differ from Veliyev. It is necessary to put an end to this, and the authorities must meet the people.

The problem of political prisoners, which has become difficult for Azerbaijan, must be solved forever and we must trust the people.

The authors remind that Ilham Aliyev stated more than once that he is a servant of the people and called on heads of districts and cities and other officials for the same. At one of the meetings, Ilham Aliyev sent a message to the head of Gence, saying he should "put himself in order".

"Apparently officials in one form or another ignore your recommendations. If they had made a timely conclusion from your warnings, these sad events would not have happened," the authors of the appeal write.

The activists are also concerned about mass arrests in Sumgait after calls for a rally on July 15 and reports of torture of people arrested during the events in Gence.

All are equal before the law, and those arrested must be held and condemned with respect for their human dignity. The opposite attitude may lead to the international isolation of Azerbaijan.

Also, the attitude towards independent media and several websites is alarming.

The events in Mingachevir and Gence bewildered not only journalists, but also experienced officials. In this case, it is wrong to put full responsibility on free media and social networks.

Already dozens of journalists have been summoned to the Prosecutor General's Office, several websites have been blocked, and criminal cases have been opened against journalists. Dozens of citizens are subjected to pressure, surveillance and arrests because of their posts in social networks.

The state should investigate the causes of social discontent, and not pursue and punish citizens, journalists or young activists.

"Otherwise, we will be an object of criticism from civilized countries and international organizations," the appeal further notes.

The authors point out the problems faced by free media and independent civil society. The difficult situation in which they are does not promise anything good for the state.

If there were independent media and free civil society, then the people would not find themselves in an information crisis.

"What kind of threat can they represent to you?" We believe that you will share our concern, make every effort to give answers, to hundreds of topical issues and instruct to open the way for a major dialogue and consultation with the society.

For the stability in our country to be solid, justice and solidarity are needed. We are convinced that you will hear our voice and use our help to withdraw from the current situation," the appeal says.

The members of the Solidarity for Justice Committee and members of civil society Novella Jafaroglu, Arzu Abdullayeva, Saida Gojamanli, Saadat Bananyarly, Mehman Aliyev, Avaz Zeynalli, Hilal Mammadov, Elshan Hasanov, Mirvari Gahramanli, Shahla Ismayil, Elchin Mammad and Aytekin Imranova signed the appeal. -06D--

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