Two vice-chairs of Müsavat party, Tofiq Yaqublu and Gulaga Aslanli, were detained today in the streets of Baku. This adds up to the other arrested Vice Chairs, and only one of six Vice Chairs remains not arrested. An adviser of the party leader on youth issues is now locked at his house which is surrounded by police officers. Some of the young party activists were called by police and threatened that they will deal with them after the Eurovision contest. Activists are also worried about Anar Gerayli whom they cannot contact for two days. Anar Gerayli, born in 1983 in Fuzuli, Azerbaijan is a free journalist and member of NIDA civil movement.
Detentions are still continuing. At the moment according to official reports there are 35 detained activists of Musavat Youth (21 people) and other oppositional movements during today’s action in front of the office of the national TV station with slogans like: "give broadcasting time to opposition" and "Public television belongs to the people". According to information from the Public Chamber 45 people were detained.
As there are more actions planned in the upcoming few days it is expected to hear about further detentions of opposition activists. The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) and European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) are deeply concerned about the situation in Azerbaijan.
Head of the Müsavat Party central administrative office Arif Hajili, head of the Müsavat youth organization Tural Abbasli and ten other opposition political activists continue to be imprisoned being convicted on charges of hooliganism, etc. after holding a political rally in Baku in April last year. These are recognized as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.
Secretary General of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY), Naomi Ichihara Røkkum, expresses grave concerns regarding the developments: “It is alarming how brutally the government is fighting any opposition, even while international journalists are present. It is of great concern if the government will follow up on their threats to retaliate on the opposition after the Eurovision. We must continue to keep our eyes on the developments in Azerbaijan.
President of European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), Jeroen Diepemaat, adds: “While the eyes of Europe are pointed at Eurovision, the government of Azerbaijan fights any kind of opposition and requests for democracy. That is utterly unacceptable in Europe today. We call upon the European Parliament to strongly condemn the actions against the opposition in their debate later today.”
Müsavat Party is a member of ELDR, Müsavat Youth is a member of IFLRY and applicant member of LYMEC.