Azerbaijan: An Illusion (4 of 12)

11 more in collection THE ILLUSION OF AZERBAIJAN , 6 more in collection Editor's Picks 11 March 2013 , 8 more in collection Editor's Picks 14 June 2013

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The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was held in Azerbaijan. The land of fire, as it is called, put on a massive and spectacular show but the festivities was tainted by the countries poor human rights record and its harsh crack down on peaceful protests. The country’s own opposition tried to draw attention to the fact that the country is not a fair democracy even though the government try to present themselves as such.
A protester is getting taken away and shut up at a peaceful rally at the lavish boulevard along Baku’s harbour front. The secret police would walk around the protesters and single them out. The minute they started shouting slogans they would be shut up dragged of into a police car that would speed of or they would be put in a bus and taken to a police station. Often this would be done very quickly and violently.

According to Amnesty International it is not a rare sight to see protesters getting arrested, registered and then left somewhere. If you are a part of arranging the protest you could look at jail time. Normally the regime charges people with hooliganism if they need someone to disappear for a few years. That or send them to do military service.
Unfortunately there are reports of alleged torture of people that are incarcerated.

Independent journalists work under tough conditions with no protection from the government and are subject of targeting. In that regard there have been two murders on journalists that the authorities have lacked investigating.
The independent journalist Khadija Ismayilova experienced the wrath of the elite. She was investigating corruption within the government when she was threatened to stop. She kept going forward with the investigations when she was filmed with a hidden camera having sex with her boyfriend. The footage was then leaked in order to defame her. There have also been accounts of people being falsely charged with possession of drugs to discredit them. According to NGO’s this is a normal procedure used by the government to crack down on any critical voices.

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