Bayil rubble: the forceful eviction of people from their homes in Baku
Despite a court decision on the suspension of the demolition of the building, the doors were broken down and they came in at 9 PM and evicted everyone from their homes at Gurbak Abbasov Street in Bayil, residents said in an interview with BBC Azeri.
“I left the house to go to work, but when I got back home, they wouldn’t even let me into the yard. I told them I just want to go to my home. They told me that I didn’t have a home. I even posted the court’s decision on the door, stating the court’s decision to prohibit the demolition of my house, but they just broke the door down,” one resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.
The Fortis-Bayil Construction company representative said, “how could we kick people out of their own home?” He claims that the residents relocated on a voluntary basis. The Council of Ministers decided in February of this year that they wanted to engage in socio-economic development in nine areas of the region.
And thus, they decided that 27 Gurban Abbasov Street did not meet their criteria for safety and that the building would be demolished, and would be replaced with a high-rise building instead.
Some of the 42 families living in the building accepted the offer, agreeing to the proposal and completion of the project. Others did not leave because it was not clear if the building would be completed on the given date.
“I spent the night at the station”
According to one resident, one evening at 9 PM, a group of civilians and “Marine Police” entered the building, and forcibly evicted residents from their homes one by one.
According to a female resident, they broke down the apartment door and threw all her furniture out, and did not let her re-enter.
“When I protested, they said, ‘what did you have in there?’ It’s all junk. I said, ‘it’s none of your business if it’s old or new.’ Who gave them permission to throw my stuff on the street? It’s valuable to me, at least,” the resident said. She watched what was happening until midnight.
According to another resident, they came there and twisted their arms behind their backs and put them in police cars. After residents saw it, they got scared and signed the agreement presented to them by the company.
“There’s a feeling that they targeted the weak ones,” added one resident.
According to her, after her apartment was ruined, she was forced to spend her nights at the train station.
“One of the children stayed in a region, and the other was staying with a friend. I was terribly stressed. I can’t even talk about what happened there.” A woman says, trying to express her feelings.
“This is the end of me”
Another female resident sayid that when they came to her apartment, she knew what would likely happen and opened the door with a video camera switched on.
“They put me in another room. They took my camera, shouting for me to stop. When I tried to attack that person, the other one went to the kitchen, took a large knife as if to attack. I said, well that’s the end of me. That person came and cut the cord of my camera from around my neck and took it from me.” Residents say her laptop was also confiscated.
The resident said she screamed into the yard for them to give her back her camera. After she screamed, they gave her camera back, but the video had been destroyed.
“So they started to demolish houses, the people were forced from their homes. They were evicting people from their own homes.”
Both of the residents say they have in their hands a decision from Sabail District Court to stop the demolishment, but it was ignored.
“We also decided to hang that decision on all the doors so Fortis Bayil could see it when they came. Fortis Bayil immediately filed an appeal against the decision, but that was the same day they came to demolish the building.” Residents say they will fight with them in court until the end.
“Residents left of their own accord”
Fortis Bayil says the residents of the apartment building chose to leave “of their own accord”. According to the company’s representative, they moved resident’s furniture out and gave the residents 300 AZN to move it themselves.
The company’s representative responded to the conflict between the residents and the construction company in litigation. “They will arrest them or they will arrest us,” he said angrily.
BBC Azerbaijan’s correspondent went to speak to a company official to seek a response on the pending court case, but the company representative angrily opened the door and told them, “get out of here, this has nothing to do with you!
The new building should have been completed in 18 months, and during this time, residents have to pay 300 AZN per month to stay in a rented apartment. Fortis Bayil claims when the building is ready, residents will have 10% larger apartments than they had before.
This article was originally published in Azerbaijani by the
BBC Azerbaijani Service.