NEWS IN AUGUST 2019
On 01 August, the parents of the accused in the “Ganja case” headed to the President Administration building in order to meet with Fuad Alaskarov, the President Assistant for Security and Law Enforcement Affairs. But the meeting did not take place. Then they have gathered in front of the Baku Court of Appeal, and wrote a petition on the name of the President Ilham Aliyev urging him not to allow «prosecution of innocent people”.
Participants of action
The relatives of the prisoners of the “Ganja case” held a demonstration in front of the Investigative Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office on Serious Crimes in Baku. They demanded the cessation of criminal cases against their relatives and the investigation of the facts of torture. The protesters declared that the charges against their relatives had been fabricated in order to characterize the events in Ganja as a religious and political conspiracy. The protesters representatives were officially called to the General Prosecutor’s Office.
Protest action of the mothers whose children were convicted in the “Ganja case”, 21 August
There was a protest demonstration organized by a group of mothers whose children had been convicted in the July 2018 Ganja riots in Baku. Several dozen of women attempted to march through the Shahid Alley (a cemetery in the mountainous part of the capital where martyrs or in Azerbaijani “shahids” of Soviet troops had been buried on 20 January 1990, as well as those killed in the Karabakh war – author’s note) to the President Administration Office to express their dissatisfaction about “the fabrication of judicial process and the punishment of innocent people”. Some of them were holding banners “Liberate my son or arrest me too!”
One of the women was indignant saying, “ My son was sitting quietly on the bench when he was arrested. He did not injure or kill anyone. He was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. Could it be like that?”
Another one was exclaiming, “For the last 13 months since our sons’ arrests, we have been suffering and walking through the streets in vain. What an arbitrariness! The bureaucrats are fighting between them but we are suffering. The event in Ganja is indeed the result of fights between the authority croups; they should manage themselves without us, how simple people could help them?”
People gathered for the protest action were also outraged by the biased reporting on REAL TV, where religious radicals were again accused of organizing riots. Besides, the report demonstrated the investigative materials, which proved the political request, as noted by the mothers of those under arrest. They threatened to sue Mirshahin Agayev, the author of the TV reportage.
The police officers called to the scene stopped the women’s march to the President Administration Office. One of the participants, Sevinj Huseynova, was detained and taken to the 9th Police Station in Baku. At the same time, two mothers-protesters were invited to a meeting at the President’s Office.
Relatives protest in front of the State Executive Power building in Ganja, 26 August
The relatives of the convicts in the “Ganja case” held another protest action on 26 August, but that time it took place in Ganja. They marched in the direction to the building of the City Hall and the Ganja Court of Appeal, shouting “The end of false accusations” and protesting against the conviction of those who had been arrested on fabricated cases.
The accused Oqtay Huseynzade’s mother, said in indignation to the correspondent, “How it could be? Why did the public prosecutor demand life imprisonment for my innocent son? After all, not a single proof of his guilt was provided in the court.”
The Mayor Niyazi Bayramov, the Head of Ganja Police Headquarters Akbar Ismayilov and a representative of the Ganja Court of Appeal assisted the meeting with the representatives mothers-protestors, who clearly expressed their demand to release their arrested sons. The official response was, “You shouldn’t worry, go home, and everything will be fine.”
However, the next day, on 27 August, all the participants of the action were summoned to the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja where they were obliged to explain the reasons for the action and their dissatisfaction.
Protest action of the parents whose children were convicted in the “Ganja case”, 28 August
The parents of those arrested in July 2018 in connection to the Ganja held another protest in front of the President Administration building in Baku on 28 August. Several dozen women marched demanding to release their children who were “innocent and arrested on trumped-up charges”.
“What are they guilty of? They were accused of serious crimes without any evidence. We can no longer tolerate this injustice. Doesn’t the President see all that? Who else can we tell about this disaster? Our children have been in prison for a year and two months. We’d rather be kicked out of the country,” one of the protesters said.
The police demanded the journalists to stop covering the rally. At some point the parents were invited to the President Administration office.
Parents of those arrested regularly organize similar actions in Baku and Ganja, and as a result, a number of the convicts have been granted reduced terms of imprisonment.