Doctor fired after releasing footage of Toplum TV founder’s arrest

Source: shutterstock/Niyazz

This article was originally published on JAMNews on the 13th of March, 2024.

A doctor at a Baku clinic believes he was fired for political reasons. Nearby the “Istanbul” clinic, the co-founder of the independent online TV channel Toplum TV, Alesker Mammadli, was detained. According to Aydin Aliev, he was retaliated against for releasing video footage of Mammadli’s arrest from surveillance cameras. However, the clinic owner claims that the doctor left the job voluntarily.

On March 12th, renowned radiologist Aydin Aliyev, a relative of the Toplum TV co-founder, announced on his Facebook page that he had been fired.

“Dear friends! Are they afraid, or have they been threatened? I do not know. But today, the management of the “Istanbul” clinic dismissed me. They told me not to come to work starting tomorrow. But what about the rule of law? Can someone be fired so easily? Where are the unions? What about workers’ rights? And what about the employment contract?” he wrote.

According to the doctor, he was dismissed because he shared footage of Alasgar Mammadli’s detention.

Alasgar Mamedli was detained on March 8th in front of the Istanbul clinic in Baku, where he had gone for an examination due to suspected cancer. Afterward, his apartment was searched, and authorities announced they found €7,200. The media expert was then arrested for four months pending a preliminary investigation on charges of smuggling in conspiracy with a group of people.

After Aydin Aliyev shared the video, pro-government media began targeting both him and the clinic’s management.

Aydin Aliyev reported that even before this incident, his superiors had repeatedly told him he was causing problems by posting about Alasgar Mammadli on social media.

I said he [Alasgar Mammadli] is my relative. A person who doesn’t protect his own family will betray his country and people one day. On March 12th, we spoke again, and he [the clinic’s manager] stated that we could no longer work together, our paths diverged, and that I should not come to work starting the next day. I’ve never heard of an employee in a normal country being told not to come to work starting tomorrow. Of course, it will be very difficult for me without work; I’ve already started looking for a new job,” he articulated.

Meanwhile, Aziz Guliyev, the owner of the “Istanbul” clinic, asserted to Abzas Media that doctor Aydin Aliyev was not fired. According to him, Aydin Aliyev left of his own accord:

Doctor Aydin is a good doctor. I don’t think badly of him. He wasn’t fired; he chose to leave by himself. Currently, his wife Mrs. Gulshan continues working at the clinic.”

Human rights advocate Mirvari Gahramanly says that labor relations in the country are governed by the Labor Code, and according to the law, no one can be fired due to the political activities of a close relative:

This is called discrimination. When such cases occur, dismissals are typically documented under Section C of Article 70 of the Labor Code, meaning ‘he is not fulfilling his duties.’ There are also other standard articles. I am very concerned that they told him verbally not to come to work, and then, perhaps, they issued a dismissal, for example, for missed hours. I think the doctor should appeal to the court, the ombudsman, and the labor inspection to protect his rights,” Mirvari Gahramanly stated.

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