Friday wrap-up: Bayram Mammadov, frustrated ambulance workers, and illegal deforestation
The week of 3-7 May saw a political activist’s dubious death, protesting ambulance workers, “Defense Line”'s report on human rights violations in Azerbaijan and an eco-activist's statement on deforestation in the country.
Suspicious death of Bayram Mammadov
This week on Wednesday, Azerbaijani political activist Bayram Mammadov was found dead in Istanbul, Turkey. His body was reportedly removed from the sea.
According to a friend of his in Turkey, Mammadov's friends received the information from the police. Friends said they had not heard from the activist since 2 May.
It is still unknown under what circumstances Bayram Mammadov died. His body was not examined by his relatives.
Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were arrested on 10 May 2016 after writing the words "Happy Slave's Holiday" on a statue of former President Heydar Aliyev before his birthday.
Lack of protection of forests
This week, Azerbaijani environmental activist Javid Gara made a statment about the lack of protection for forests in the country. He says that ties with companies breaching contracts and deforesting lands in the country should be terminated. Unfortunately, says Gara, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources does nothing more than to impose extremely low fines on the culprits.
"The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR), headed by minister Mukhtar Babayev, has imposed tens of thousands of fines in exchange for millions of damage caused by deforestation in the regions".
He says that the ministry does not terminate contracts with companies that grossly violate the terms of their lease agreements. Nevertheless, the activist concluded that the struggle will not end until contracts are cancelled and reforestation is completed.
Ambulance workers suspend work
Emergency medical service workers in Baku stopped working for several hours to protest the lack of extra pay for treating coronavirus patients.
The paramedics gathered in front of station No. 9 in the Binagadi district in the evening on 6 May, and in the morning on 7 May at the Baku Emergency and Urgent Medical Aid Station. Chief physician Rauf Nagiyev agreed to meet with the doctors.
One of the paramedics told Meydan TV that they have not been paid for three months. “Some doctors received only 20 AZN (approx. 10 EUR, 12 USD) to their accounts. It's a joke. We are risking our lives."
In addition to demanding extra pay, the workers also complained of poor working conditions. They said that on the weekends and holidays they have to use taxis since there is no transportation available, but these extra expenses have never been reimbursed.
According to the Baku City Emergency and Urgent Station, doctors have not stopped working. The station did not respond to questions about resolving their grievances.
Human rights monitor group "Defense Line"
The recent monitor by human rights organisation "Defense Line" shows increased violations of rights of respect for family and private life, freedom, personal inviolability, property, fair trial, non-torture and discrimination in Azerbaijan.
The organization's executive director Rufat Safarov said that “violations are on the rise” and “repression has intensified. Opposition figures and critical citizens are arrested in best case scenarios, and in worst case scenarios are prosecuted and sentenced to long prison terms. In order to blackmail and silence public and political activists, footage of private lives of the activists and their families have been secretly distributed. This is a great blow to the interests of the state and society”.
After the War: Picking Up the Pieces
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