Friday wrap-up: Sacked mayors, Mijatovic's letter, and a coronavirus update
The week of 26-30 April saw more arrests of regional mayors, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights addressing a letter to president Aliyev, updated numbers of Covid-19 cases, and the English publication Meydan TV's coverage of Gunel Hasanli's privacy breaches and the use of sex as a weapon of defamation in Azerbaijan.
Another regional mayor sacked in Azerbaijan
In the beginning of this week, the State Security Service (DTX) conducted an operation in the Shamkir District Administration. Alimpasha Mammadov, head of the Shamkir District Executive Power, was reportedly detained by the State Security Service. President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on April 27 removing him from his position.
A wave of arrests of chief executives in Azerbaijan began in December 2020 with the arrest of former Yevlakh mayor Goja Samedlov. Statements issued by the State Tax Inspectorate claim that during their tenure, the mayors misappropriated millions from the budget allocated for construction and improvement works in the regions, and received large bribes from citizens.
Human Rights commissioner addressing a letter to president Aliyev
On Tuesday, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic published a letter condemning president Aliyev´s inauguration of the ‘Trophy Park’ in Baku. The park was opened to the public on 14 April, and features displays of Armenian military equipment taken from the recent war. The letter condemned the portrayal of dead and dying Armenian soldiers as wax mannequins which can be seen all over the park. Mijatovic called the exhibit “highly disturbing and humiliating” and expressed concern that this sort of display will only increase hostile sentiments and intolerance between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
This week, 1,392 new cases of COVID-19 infections were registered in Azerbaijan. According to the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers, a total of 317,913 people have been infected with coronavirus in the country, 287,298 have recovered and 4,490 have died since the pandemic began. As of today, there are 26,125 active patients.
Sex tapes used against political targets
This week, Meydan TV published the English language version of our coverage of the Gunel Hasanli incident, and the use of sex as a tool of manipulation against dissidents in Azerbaijan.
On March 28, intimate videos of National Council Chair Jamil Hasanli's daughter, Gunel Hasanli, were shared on social media.
As it turns out, not only were the videos taken without Ms. Hasanli's knowledge, but they seem to have been part of a plot to entrap her in order to use the images to defame her father.
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