The week of September 12-16 saw armed disputes in Azerbaijan-Armenia border, criminal responsibility for social media posts and the Azerbaijani Bar Association’s statement regarding a recent arrested lawyer.
Clashes in the Azerbaijan-Armenia border: more than 200 causalities
On the night of September 13, an armed dispute started at the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. The fighting spilled over the Armenian cities of Goris and Jermuk, as well as the village of Sotk, and violated the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan achieved on November 2020 after the Fall 2020 War in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Baku and Yerevan blame each other for the escalation of the conflict, which was the deadliest on since the 2020 war. While the Ministry of Defense from Azerbaijan confirmed more than 100 causalities for Azerbaijan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed 135 on their side.
On Thursday, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov affirmed in a meeting with the special representative of the Russian President on international cultural cooperation, Mikhail Shvidkoy, that Azerbaijan has unilaterally offered a humanitarian ceasefire to Armenia. The information was released by the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since then, no more fights were reported.
New study about Azerbaijani freedom of expression legislation and its use
The Institute of Democratic Initiatives (IDI) published a new study named “On the situation of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan”.
According to the document, in 2021 six people were brought to criminal responsibility in Azerbaijan for their posts and opinions on social networks. The research results show that there has been no progress in the situation of freedom of expression compared to previous years in the country.
IDI argues that no positive changes were registered in the legislation in the field of freedom of expression. Also, on a practical level, state institutions abused their powers and made illegitimate interference with freedom of expression, according to the study.
Bar Association’s statement does not relate lawyer’s arrest with professional activity
Reacting to lawyer Elchin Sadigov arrest, the Azerbaijani Bar Association stated that it is a completely independent institution and interference in its activities is not allowed:
“Regarding this issue, we strongly condemn the manipulation of persons who are politicized, do not meet the common interests of the bar, and serve other interests, and organize campaigns against the legal interests of the bar. Such manipulations harm the institution of independent advocacy”, reads the statement.
The Bar Association invited lawyers to be careful, not to declare or publish inaccurate information, and not to create a wrong impression about advocacy in the society.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov was detained on September 10 and had his home and offices searched. He was charged with participation in accepting a large amount of bribe FOR taking money from the family of Rasim Mammadov, the former head of Baku Steel Company LLC, a steelmaking plant. Sadigov was the lawyer of Rasim Mammadov, who has been in prison since January 2021.
He pleads not guilty and connects his detention with his representation of socio-political activists arrested for political reasons, claiming he is being punished for that.