Speech on the FORUM 2000 panel: “Authoritarians in the Post –Soviet Space: The Need for Democratic Solidarity”, 15 October 2019

Speech on the FORUM 2000 panel: “Authoritarians in the Post –Soviet Space: The Need for Democratic Solidarity”, 15 October 2019


15 October 2019


Leyla Yunus, Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (Azerbaijan/ Netherlands)

I started my HRD’s activity in USSR. In 1988, I was one of the founders of the National Movement for Independence, the Popular Front of Azerbaijan, was the   member of the Board the Popular Front of Azerbaijan.
After fall of Soviet Union, we had great hopes for future. We believed that we could live in independent democratic Azerbaijan. But in 1993 general of KGB, Heydar Aliyev former leader of Azerbaijan Communist party became the president of Azerbaijan Republic. In our book (which we wrote with my husband Arif after the prison) I wrote how it happened, how president Elchibey brought Heydar Aliyev to the power.
So, from 1993 Aliyev’s family are ruling Azerbaijan Republic, we have family bloody dictatorship.   Already in 1994, Heydar Aliyev started horrible repressions.  During 25 years, Our Institute for Peace and Democracy is working on various difficult/horrible problems/issues
faced by Azerbaijani citizens:

–  abduction and trafficking of young girls organiSed by police officers,

– horrible violation of property rights in Baku, more than 150 thousand citizens in Baku lost their homes,

But political repression, political prisoners has always been our main problem.


In March 2009,   PACE adopted the candidature of Christopher Strasser – German deputy as the special rapporteur on the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. But he was not able to receive a visa to visit Azerbaijan. Can you imagine special rapporteur of PACE? And CoE remained silent. Our IPD worked very closely with Christopher Strasser’s office. We put all information about political prisoners in the draft of resolution “Political prisoners in Azer-n”. I was sure that during January session of PACE   in 2013 this resolution will be adopted and it will support our political prisoners. I was shocked to find out that the PACE deputies voted against this resolution at the January 2013 session. 


The PACE deputies opened the green light to the most brutal political repressions in Azerbaijan!!! After one week, on February 4, 2014 arrests began. My husband and I, we were arrested in summer   of 2014. More brutal  repressions in Azerbaijan took place during the presidency of Azerbaijan at Committee of Ministers of the  Council of Europe in 2014. Only in April 2017 there was investigation at CoE and   the report was published about Landromate, caviar diplomacy, how our dictator Ilham Aliyev spent about 3 billion euro to buy members of PACE. Only in 2017, but we spoke about this corruptionin 2011…


But nothing changed. There is still   horrible problem of political repression in Azerbaijan. 


We have 127 political prisoner and people regularly die after tortures. Each year, about 6-8 people die after tortures during investigation.
During May-July 2017 eight men were killed during the tortures in Terter region, one boy was just 15 years old. Our IPD put all information on our website: https://www.ipd-az.org/law-enforcement-agencies-of-azerbaijan-sanction-murders/


After destruction of civil society,   suppression of opposition, I. Aliyev began to pressure any freethinking person in regions of the country.
On November 2015, mass arrests   took place (more than 50 citizens) in Nardaran village, at the same time 6 persons were killed, and arrestees were   sentenced from 5 to 20 years in prison.


During July –August 2018, there were more than 60 people arrested in Ganja, six were killed. On July 10, 2019, because of tortures during investigation, one person – Aydin Gurbanov died in prison. Eshgin Guliyev was the second person who died in prison after tortures. He died recently, on September 29, 2019. 
How many people will die tomorrow?
Political repressions, tortures continue…


Our IPD put all information on our website: https://www.ipd-az.org/law-enforcement-agencies-of-azerbaijan-sanction-murders/


What is the reaction of international community on Aliyev’s regime’s crimes? European Union regularly invites Ilham Aliyev to festive meetings and is preparing to sign another new agreement with Azerbaijani dictator.


PACE appointed new special rapporteur on problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.  On September 5 – 7 new rapporteur visited Azerbaijan. Her report will only be ready for January 2020 session of PACE. After 7 years, new resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan…


In reality, Ilham Aliyev has support in Europe, in US. Azerbaijan has oil and gas. And I am sure, that Azerbaijan dictator pays a lot of money…


Council of Europe and European Union are carrying out   two projects in  Azerbaijan  “Partnership for good governance” in  2019-2021.


The partners and beneficiaries of the first project – the Ministry of Justice, Legal – judicial  council, courts, in other words, those who pass politically motivated sentences and who torture.


Budget of the  project is   915 000 euro, 80 %   will be funded by EU and 20   % by Council of Europe. 


Beneficiaries of the second project – Prosecutor’s General Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Security Service. Those who commit horrible crimes…


Budget of the second project is 750,000 euro. 80 percent will be funded by EU, and 20 percent by Council of Europe as in a first project.


And this is how the money of European taxpayers is spent …