Criminal case launched against observer harassed in general election
A criminal case has been launched against the independent election observer Jala Bayramova, who was severely beaten during the general election day by a voter at the polling station in Azerbaijan's Astara-Lankaran province.
The incident happened during the elections when Bayramova recorded, as part of her duties, the election violations and filmed them on video. The woman who allegedly committed falsifications first warned Bayramova not to film her and later tried to take her phone, which Bayramova resisted. Later in the video, Bayramova is seen being attacked by the same woman who drags her by hair in front of the members of the polling station.
The video went viral on social media and caused a wide debate during and after the election.
In her statement, Bayramova has revealed how she narrowly escaped the incident.
A day later, Bayramova underwent a medical examination. Having been choked she had serious bruises and some other injuries on her body. She is still under medical care.
Social media has discussed possible motives for the attack, saying the attack on Bayramova was organized by the secretary of the District Electoral Commission, Mubariz Amirov, and the attacking woman, named as Azada Karimova, was neither a voter nor a member of the commission.
Mazahir Panahov, Azerbaijan´s Central Election Commission chair, has dismissed it as being nothing but an argument.
“Some people are spreading misinformation all over the world,” said Panahov while commenting on the video footage distributed in connection with Bayramova´s beating at the polling station.
“A citizen has the right not to be filmed. Another woman who was filmed reported the incident to the police. That woman [Bayramova] will be punished by law,” Panahov said.
Bayramova's father Gubad Ibadoglu, the chairman of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Movement, says this is another example of "justice" in Azerbaijan.
“They are prosecuting the one that is beaten rather than the one that is beating,” Ibadoglu said. According to Ibadoglu, Karimova's presence had been “illegal.”
“The shooting was not on the street but at the polling station. Jala was brutally beaten. The physical violence against her is obvious.”
Ibadoglu says the criminal case launched against his daughter is political motivated, as “it is regulated not by law but by personal supervision.”
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