Will Sting sing in the name of freedom in Azerbaijan? PDF Print E-mail

The second roundtable of the campaign “Sing for democracy” was held on Tuesday in the Institute of Reporters Freedom and Safety.


According to Rasul Jafarov, the Chairman of the Human Rights Club, the campaign aims to shed light at six problematic issues in Azerbaijan: political prisoners, political freedoms, visa regime, property rights, activities of TV and radio stations, the judicial system and the pressure on independent lawyers.

In October the participants in the campaign appealed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to help resolving these problems. However, the EBU answered that it does not want to politicize the issue.

Jafarov said that members of the campaign are going to repeat the appeal, because the situation in Azerbaijan is deteriorating: the arrest of the editor of the newspaper "Khural», Avaz Zeynalli, violations of property rights, the dispersal of rallies, etc.

He also insisted that two enquiries on the simplification of the visa regime had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but they were ignored. In this connection, the campaign filed a lawsuit in Baku administrative-territorial court N 1. The Foreign Ministry ignored both trials of the court. The third trial is scheduled for December 5.

Anar Mammadov, the head of the Alliance for the Protection of Political Freedoms, noted that the campaign intends to hold a meeting on the 10th of December – the Day of the Declaration of Human Rights. He also touched on the issue of political prisoners, which has remained unsolved for 15 years. Every year a list of political prisoners is updated. A potential candidate for this list is the editor of "Khural", Avaz Zeynalli.

The head of the Institute of Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, Emin Huseynov, said that the web-site of the campaign will be launched one of these days - sing for democracy.org

A lawyer of the American organization IREX, Alesker Mammadli, talked about the activities of electronic mass media in Azerbaijan. He noted that today they do not reflect society's problems. The contents of these media are dictated, and there is neither pluralism nor alternative opinions.

The head of the Center to Promote Free Economy, Zohrab Ismail, touched upon the violation of property rights. Currently, courts in first instance have passed 5.000 decisions on the demolition of houses belonging to SOCAR and other companies. 35.000 to 40.000 houses are supposed to be demolished in the outskirts of Baku: in Bayil, 20-th district, Binagadi, Surakhani, and Sabunchu areas. In these houses people have been living for 10 or more years. No compensation is promised, not even to those who have a deed of purchase for their appartement.

According to Fuad Hasanov, the head of the "Democratic monitoring" organization, members of the campaign will cooperate with international organizations. Thus, Amnesty International has promised its support. In addition, members of the campaign are going to attract well-known performers - Sting and Bono (band member of "U2"), due to their civil rights engagement.