Friday Wrap-up: Ali Aliyev’s arrest, illegal mining and deportations from Germany

Illustration of sand and gravel mining. Source: Meydan TV

The week of 31 January-4 February saw European Union’s reaction to the detention of Ali Aliyev, illegal mining activities in in Gabala and Balakan and the fate of political activists after returning to Azerbaijan.

EU answers open letter asking for action in Ali Aliyev’s case

Members of the Committee for the Protection of Rights of Ali Aliyev, formed after Aliyev’s arrest, sent an open letter for various international human rights organizations, bringing awareness to detention of the chairman of the Citizen and Development Party. As a response, a letter signed by Richard Tibbets, Coordinator of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, was sent to the Committee.

He informed that Ali Aliyev’s arrest is being analyzed by the President of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council President Charles Michel and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. It was also mentioned that the EU Delegation to Baku was following the arrest of the party chairman and brought it to the attention of the Azerbaijani authorities.

Ali Aliyev was sentenced to 5 months in prison for slander on January 13 after commenting on a video in YouTube of an interview made after an helicopter accident, which he believed it was fake. According to the party chairman, his persecution contradicts freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution and international conventions to which Azerbaijan is a signer.

“Millions of sand and gravel are extracted in Gabala and Balakan”

Illegal sand and gravel mining is apparently being carried out in Gabala and Balakan districts. The place was inspected by the relevant authorities and was found that the illegal activity violates rules of protection and use of the subsoil.

The press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office told Meydan TV that criminal cases will be open against officials of several companies and individuals without proper licensing who were acting in the regions.

It was affirmed that officials of companies Balakan Brick Production Enterprise LLC and Redstone LLC, as well as private individuals without legal entity, carried out the illegal sand and gravel production worth almost two-million AZR. Three criminal cases were initiated under allegations of violation of the right of ownership, use or lease of land, violation of the rules of protection and use of subsoil and abuse of power. Further investigation is yet to be conducted.

Azerbaijani migrants deported from Germany reportedly arrested on drug charges 

After being sent back to Azerbaijan, Punhan Karimli and Jafar Mirzayev were detained by the Interior Ministry’s Main Drug Control Department and are accused of drug trafficking. Their family have denied the allegations, saying their arrest is politically motivated.

Together with Karimli and Mirzayev, activists Malik Rzayev and Mutallim Orujo were detained in October last year. The four of them involved in political activities while in Europe, including organization of protests regarding the situation of political prisoners, illegal arrests and torture in Azerbaijan.

Afghan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights defender living in Germany, explained to Meydan TV that from over thousand people deported back to Azerbaijan, only those four had been detained. He believes the Azerbaijani government is now punishing them for their political activity in Germany.

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