Ukraine jails Dutch journalist to please Azerbaijan dictatorship


Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Dutch journalist already jailed for more than half a year in Ukraine

In Ukraine, the Dutch-Azeri journalist Fikret Huseynli has been in prison for more than half a year. He was arrested on 14 October last year at the request of Azerbaijan, which wants his extradition for … illegal crossing of the border. Huseynli fled from Azerbaijan and says that that country wants to arrest him because of his critical reporting.

Earlier this month, a court in Kiev ruled that he can not be extradited and that he must be able to go where he wants. But even before the verdict, his Dutch passport had been taken away, confirms the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. A spokesman said that there is regular contact with him and that the Netherlands “on a high political level” emphasizes that he has refugee status and that the Netherlands disapproves of extradition. At the same time, the ministry says it can not “enter into legal proceedings of other countries”.

Masked men

Huseynli fled from Azerbaijan in 2008 and received political asylum in the Netherlands. In Azerbaijan, Huseynli worked for the newspaper Azadlyg. Two years before he fled, he had been attacked by masked men. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the journalist was granted refugee status and now has Dutch nationality.

Huseynli runs the Azerbaijani online news organization Turan in Amsterdam, which is critical of the government of Azerbaijan. He was in Ukraine in October to investigate whether a local department of Turan could be opened. Because Azerbaijan had put him on a list of police organization Interpol, he was arrested in Ukraine. Huseynli says that Azerbaijan is out to shut him up.

At the end of October, two weeks after his arrest, a court in Kiev ruled that Huseynli could be released on bail, but he had to stay in the country for two months. After that time a decision was supposed to be taken on extradition. Since then, this term has been extended twice, Huseynli said last month in conversation with the international journalist organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Recently, on April 2, the court ruled that he can not be extradited, but the public prosecutor refuses to give him his passport back and wants a new session to impose new restrictions on him, the Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper in Kiev, says.

Attacked in apartment

Huseynli is also being intimidated in Ukraine. The CPJ writes on its site that on March 5 he was attacked by strangers in the apartment he is renting in Kiev. According to the Dutchman, his assailants spoke Ukrainian and Azeri. He was beaten up and worked against the ground. The CPJ calls on Ukraine to investigate the incident and give Huseynli his passport back so that he can leave the country.

The international journalist organization Reporters sans Frontières (RSF, Reporters without Borders) has also called for the release of Huseynli. The organization also speaks of a political matter and emphasizes that Azerbaijan in terms of freedom of press 162 is on a list of 180 countries. The country violates press freedom in a crude way, according to RSF.

The Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is establishing a database of the public activities, “sentiments” and personal information of hundreds of thousands of news publications, journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” around the world. The project was revealed in an April 3 notice on the governmental Federal Business Opportunities website requesting proposals from private contractors to administer the project: here.

Update: Huseynli has been freed.

South Asia the most dangerous part of the world for journalists, press freedom campaigners warn: here.

Nazi Salutes and Fascist Chic Put Ukraine’s Jews on Edge: here.

The New York Times and the [Babchenko] murder [in Ukraine] that wasn’t: here.

The Ukrainian government of President Petro Poroshenko is facing a serious economic crisis as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding ever greater social cuts: here.

Azerbaijan dictatorship’s mass persecution of LGBTQ people


This video from Germany says about itself:

20 January 2017

22 January is National Day against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Azerbaijan. After the suicide of LGBT activist Isa Shahmarli on the 22nd of January in 2014, the LGBT community commemorates this day to remember all LGBT people who became victims of homophobia, biphobiaa, and transphobia.

President of Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance Javid Nabiyev organized a demo in front of the Azerbaijani embassy in Berlin and presented to both the Azerbaijan president and parliament our demands regarding adoption of hate crime, hate speech, and anti-discrimination laws in the Azerbaijan parliament.

Feel free to share in your network.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘Razzias against homosexual and transgender people in Azerbaijan

The authorities in Azerbaijan have raids against homosexual and transgender people in the capital Baku. That say arrested persons from the LGBTQ community, their lawyer and activists to newspaper The Guardian. Dozens of members of the LGBTQ community are said to have been arrested in what their lawyer calls “systematic and widespread raids.”

Homosexuality is not illegal in Azerbaijan, but it is not accepted at all. In no other country in Europe, things are worse for gay rights, according to research by the international LGBTQ organization ILGA.

The dictatorship in Azerbaijan violates not only LGBTQ rights, but many other human rights as well.

This dictatorship is buddies with NATO countries’ fossil fuel corporations and their political associates, because of oil and gas.

This dictatorship is buddies with NATO countries’ hawkish generals and hawkish chickenhawks, because of plans for war on Russia and/or on Iran.

Press freedom attacked in Turkey, Azerbaijan


This 21 February 2017 video is called ‘Turkey is the biggest jail for journalists in the world’.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Turkey is sending its journalists to prison

29 July 2016

Erdogan orders to seize properties of 131 media outlets, including 45 newspapers and 16 TV channels, and transfer them to the Treasury.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Journalists hauled before court as crackdown goes on

Saturday 30th July 2016

TWENTY-ONE journalists were hauled before an Istanbul court yesterday to answer vague accusations of “involvement” in the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Detention orders for 42 journalists were issued on Monday and police are still searching for half of them.

Press freedom in Turkey has long been under threat — Can Dundar, the editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, was jailed for five years in May after his paper published evidence that Turkey was smuggling weaponry to Islamist terror groups in Syria.

But the failed July 15 coup has prompted a massive clampdown. A three-month state of emergency has been declared and media victims include 131 newspapers that have been ordered to close.

TV channels and radio stations have also been shut down. Yesterday the censorship blanket was extended to Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan as the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the National Council on Television and Radio to strip TV station ANS of its broadcasting licence since its reporting of the coup “ran counter to a strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Turkey.”

Around 1,700 Turkish soldiers have been dishonourably discharged since the coup, while 40 per cent of generals and admirals have been dismissed. On Thursday night, 99 colonels were promoted to general as part of a mammoth reorganisation to ensure the army’s loyalty to Mr Erdogan.

Reality is stranger than fiction: It’s full-on “House of Cards” in Azerbaijan as President Ilham Aliyev has appointed his wife, Mehriban, to become the country’s first ever vice president.

Azeri elite money laundering, bribery: here.

Azerbaijan dictatorship supported by F1 boss Ecclestone


This video says about itself:

Amal Clooney: ‘Why I’m defending Azerbaijani journalist (Khadija Ismayilova)’ – BBC News

26 April 2016

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is representing award-winning Azerbaijan reporter Khadija Ismayilova at the European Court of Human Rights. Ms Ismayilova, an outspoken critic of the government, was jailed 18 months ago. Ms Clooney has been speaking to the BBC about the journalist’s case, and also gave her views on Republican presidential nomination front runner Donald Trump.

After Formula One fat cat Ecclestone earlier on expressed his suport for Margaret Thatcher, for Adolf Hitler and for the royal dictatorship in Bahrain, he has found another thing to support.

By Kadeem Simmonds:

Formula One: Journalists should be imprisoned, says Ecclestone

Friday 17th June 2016

F1 supremo backs the locking up of writers who criticise government of Azerbaijan

Bernie Ecclestone agreed yesterday that journalists who speak out against their government should be imprisoned.

With Azerbaijan hosting its first Formula One race this weekend, the sport has faced plenty of criticism with campaign groups, Amnesty International being the most recent, calling on the sport to take a public stance against the oil-rich state’s human rights record.

However, when put to Ecclestone that some journalists had been prosecuted for speaking out against president Ilham Aliyev’s regime, he replied: “So they should. It depends what they say. You say they write negative things. It depends what they write.

“I tell you what we ought to do — as far as we are concerned — not have any races where there is corruption in the country. Can you tell me where we are going to be racing?”

Human Rights campaigners have accused Aliyev’s regime of wrongful imprisonment of journalists and bloggers, freezing financial public resources and restrictive legislation.

They also claim that media outlets critical of Aliyev’s government have been harassed and intimidated and subsequently forced to close, while four journalists have also died in custody since 2005, according to Sport for Rights.

Ecclestone was fielding questions after Amnesty International released a statement on Wednesday night saying: “Formula One should use its influence and publicly call on the Azerbaijan authorities to end their crackdown on human rights.”

In response, the Formula One supremo said that the sport has a “100 per cent” clear conscience ahead of Sunday’s race on the streets of capital city Baku.

Top-ranking Formula One officials met with Sport For Rights — another campaign group which urged Ecclestone to speak out against Aliyev’s regime, and call for the release of political prisoners — last Monday. Further discussions have also been planned.

“Yes, we are [taking the issue seriously], of course,” added Ecclestone, who was not present at the talks. “We have been in correspondence and we have assurance from here that they are looking into all these things.

“We listen, obviously, and if people have got a genuine complaint there is not a lot we can do, because in all fairness I think you would get into trouble in most countries if you were very, very anti some government or political people, or in fact anybody, so it is not quite as easy as that.”

‘Turkey’s Erdogan stoking Armenia-Azerbaijan war’


This video says about itself:

Human rights controversy surrounds European Games in Azerbaijan

14 June 2015

In Azerbaijan, a leading critic of the government has been escorted out of the country by Switzerland’s foreign minister.The activist has spent 10 months at the Swiss embassy, trying to avoid arrest. Meanwhile, there are calls to boycott a big sporting event because of the country’s human rights record. The European Games have just opened near the capital, Baku.

By James Tweedie in Britain:

Turkey ‘urging war’ to settle Nagorno issue

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Russia slams Ankara’s role in Caucasus dispute

RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Turkey yesterday of stirring up war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

He was speaking after meeting his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandyan to discuss the recent renewed conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“The statements of the Turkish leadership are absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Lavrov said. “These were the calls not for peace but for war. These were calls to resolve the conflict by military means.”

“Unfortunately, we have got accustomed to such ‘twists’ of the current Turkish leadership,” he said.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Minsk Group of Russia, France and the United States of “inaction” on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

Mr Nalbandyan said the recent fighting had pushed back talks over the contested territory.

“A serious blow to security and stability was dealt,” he said. “But one should think about how to overcome these consequences, although some things are irreparable — the deaths.”

“These events have pushed the negotiating process backwards,” he said.

The two former Soviet republics have been in dispute over the majority-Armenian oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan since 1988, before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The two countries went to war in 1994, since when the region has been under Armenian jurisdiction.

Fighting flared up again on April 2, with dozens killed as Azeri forces tried to reoccupy the area. Turkey backed Azerbaijan’s position.

Russia, which has treaty obligations to Armenia and a military base in the country, joined the US, France and Iran in mediating a truce.

Last summer, the Armenian capital Yerevan saw weeks of anti-government protests in an apparent attempt at “colour revolution.”

Earlier yesterday, Mr Lavrov laid a wreath at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian genocide memorial, a move sure to antagonise Ankara.

Turkey does not accept that the killing of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman empire, beginning in 1915 and lasting several years, was an act of genocide.

Earlier this week the pro-Turkish FactCheckArmenia.com group drew fire when it took out full-page newspaper and prominent billboard adverts in the US, including in the Wall Street Journal and New York’s Times Square, implying that Armenia and Russia were lying about the atrocities.

Imperial eagle conservation in Georgia and Azerbaijan


This video says about itself:

8 June 2012

Imperial Eagle pair – five instincts is a documentary film about the life of eagles, which is called by nature lovers – a jewel of the European lowlands. Two filmmakers from Slovakia went on pilgrimage to capture on camera those globally endangered birds of prey.

During three years they were mapping daily lives of these predators, to show us relationships and connections how to survive in their natural environment where man is intensively damaging European lowlands. The shooting did not use animals bred in captivity. Unique footage was filmed from the nature. Specific behavior of the eagles was discovered, which no one captured on camera yet.

From BirdLife:

Impressive Imperial Eagle conservation in Georgia and Azerbaijan

By Guille Mayor and Elchin Sultanov, Tue, 12/04/2016 – 09:07

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its global population estimates range from 3,500 to 15,000 individuals. This embattled bird is a lowland species whose population is globally declining and that has been pushed to higher altitudes by persecution and habitat loss in Europe. In central and eastern Europe, it breeds in forests up to 1.000 m above sea level, in steppe and agricultural areas with large trees, and nowadays also on electricity pylons.

Breeding sites are threatened by intensive forestry in the mountains, and by the shortage of large indigenous trees in the lowlands. Other threats are shortages of small and medium-sized prey species, loss of habitat to agriculture, human disturbance of breeding sites, nest robbing and illegal trade, shooting, poisoning and electrocution by powerlines.

Neighbouring countries Georgia and Azerbaijan are doing their bit to save this species from extinction.

Georgia: Man-made nests against man-made destruction

In Georgia, the species has its main breeding grounds in the east of the country, a vast bushy steppe and farmland area. According to recent surveys, no more than 40 breeding pairs remain in the country, mainly restricted to nesting in riverine forests and electric pylons due to the lack of suitable trees to build nests in throughout the land.

Since November 2015, SABUKO (Society for Nature Conservation) is carrying out conservation activities to improve the status of the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) through direct conservation measures, awareness raising and education.

Before the start of the project, funded and supported by CLP (Conservation Leadership Programme), several breeding surveys were carried out during 2014 and 2015 to assess the population size of the Eastern Imperial Eagle in Georgia and the locations of the nests. Several abandoned electric pylons were also checked for suitability to install artificial nests, as the species is known to nest in them in some countries in the Balkans.

In November 2015, four artificial nests were successfully built and installed, following the suggestionsi of the Institute of Ecology at Ilia State University, Georgia and MME (Birdlife in Hungary). In the first week of March, an adult eagle couple was seen performing diving flights (a courtship ritual or territorial display) close to one of them.

However, artificial nest installation does not solve the threat of habitat loss. So other activities are also being undertaken. These include the assessment and protection of young forest patches in non-protected areas that can be potentially used by the Eastern Imperial Eagle in the future, as well as of mature forest patches in such areas, where the eagles are currently nesting.

SABUKO is also carrying out satellite tracking of juvenile birds with the help of MME and the Vashlovani Protected Areas Office. To raise awareness among locals, SABUKO is conducting activities such as eagle watchers’ training, talks and presentations in schools, and meetings with municipality representatives, farmers and landowners.

Azerbaijan: Research is conservation’s best friend

Azerbaijan is essential to these and other threatened birds of prey as breeding and feeding grounds. However, there was a lack of comprehensive surveys that give us exact data about their breeding and wintering numbers. That changed with the adoption of the Southern Caucasus Action Plan for the Imperial Eagle in 2006, which stated that a basic assessment of the breeding population of the species was a priority.

In April 2007, the Azerbaijan Ornithological Society (BirdLife in Azerbaijan) started a comprehensive survey of Imperial Eagles in the northwestern part of Azerbaijan. Data collected during this survey were the first and most detailed data about the Eastern Imperial Eagle for Azerbaijan. In nine days, they covered 6.000sq km (7% of Azerbaijan territory, which is 25% of the habitat suitable for the Eastern Imperial Eagle) where they found 25 breeding pairs of Eastern Imperial eagles and a five more active territories. It was estimated that for the studied area, the number of breeding pairs was 35-60.

The results also indicated that the Azerbaijan population of the species may be among the top three in the world and therefore needs to be further researched, including mapping the rest of their habitat. This survey, by providing us with information about current status and distribution of the Eastern Imperial Eagle and distribution model will be our guide for future activities and planning for the conservation of the species and the designation of IBAs.

The action plan has drawn up a list of activities to increase and stabilise the population as well as to improve our knowledge of the Eastern Imperial Eagle. This includes public awareness campaigns on the threats to this species, holding meetings with electricity companies to site pylons in a way that is not a threat to the birds, providing alternative nests to those affected by human activities, and improve enforcement of laws against illegal logging.

Thus, the Imperial Eagle project will provide the chance to learn more about the Eastern Imperial Eagle and improve the conservation of this bird in Azerbaijan with the involvement of the media, local community stakeholders, infrastructure companies and governmental authorities.

Bird Camp Besh 2016 – engaging young people in conservation in Azerbaijan: here.