Tragedy to turns to protest?


It has been a busy week in Facebook.az (or whatever you want to call the Azerbaijani political reality that is Facebook (side note: do Azerbaijanis ever sleep? I keep up with the Facebook goings on all day long. It is so active!)

So this week, images came out that showed the beaten corpse of an 18-year-old Azerbaijani soldier Jeyhun Gubadov. The Azerbaijani government had tried to cover up the death, saying that it was a heart problem. But the family pressed and this came out.

The images caused a huge stir in the Azerbaijani Facebook world. Posts and images memes soon followed. Then a group of young activists called for a protest/gathering/whatever to be held on Saturday the 12th at 4pm Baku time. (This is overall to protest this killing, the cover up, the dozens of similar killings last year, etc. etc.)

What is incredible is that within 72 hours, over 15,000 people have said that they are “attending” the event. Adding up those “attending” “maybe attending” and “invited” is over 109,000 people!

What does it mean to “attend” – I don’t believe that over 15,000 are going to show up on Saturday. However, I don’t think that this is slacktivism either. These are real people acknowledging their support of this event in a fairly public way. That is not meaningless.

Here’s RFE/RL’s coverage.

Two things of note:
1. one of the Facebook group organizers has had his home and the homes of his family visited by the police already (thanks Arzu)
2. There is a new law that has huge fines for those engaging in unauthorized gatherings – $1000 for individuals, $40,000 for organizers.

Will people be fined on Saturday? Remains to be seen.

So, with that, I wanted to post the Azerbaijani language media (translated) on this topic… I don’t know what has been on TV yet, but I’ll post again tomorrow when I have it.

First Vice Speaker: There is a need for strengthening the discipline in Azerbaijani army
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Saturday, January 12, 2013
Author: I. Izzet, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Jan. 12–There is a need for strengthening the discipline in Azerbaijani army, the First Vice-Speaker of Milli Majlis (Parliament) Ziyafat Asgarov told Trend on Friday, expressing attitude to the death of Jeyhun Gubadov, a soldier in Dashkesen region military unit of the Ministry of Defence.

“The tragic death of every soldier is a big loss for us,” Askerov said and expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

Criminal proceedings and investigation are underway in connection with the incident, Askerov said.

“The investigation will determine who is guilty and who is not. This issue is under serious control of parliament. At this point, any statements may be interpreted as pressure over the investigation. I believe, the investigation will be carried out objectively and there should be no doubt concerning this matter. The investigation on this matter is taken under special control, and the public will be informed upon completion of the objective investigation,” the first deputy speaker said.

According to him, toughening of the punishment for prevention of criminal offenses in army is not expected. Alongside, he believes that in order to avoid a repetition of such cases, more control should be placed over military service.

“The Criminal Code provides sufficient punishment for these actions. I don’t think any changes are to be introduced to the Criminal Code or other legislation acts. But there is a need for strengthening control over matters of discipline in army, as well as strengthening control over relations among the soldiers and between the soldiers and the officers,” Askerov said.

Jeyhun Gubadov born in 1994, was called up for military service in the Absheron region. Few days ago he died in a military unit stationed in Dashkesan area.

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Azerbaijan ’s Defense Ministry punishes several officers over soldier ’s death
Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
The complete list of the officers, who were punished over the death of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces’ soldier Jeyhun Gubadov, has been made public. Spokesman for the Defense Ministry Eldar Sabiroglu told APA. He says: “As announced, Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev has taken serious measures against several high-ranking officers, because they didn’t fulfill their duties properly.

Moreover, the commander of the brigade has been demoted. Brigade’s chief of staff has been dismissed. The commander, chief of staff of the battalion and the commander of the detachment have been demoted.” Two persons have already been arrested over the soldier ’s death.”

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Zakir Garalov receives soldier Jeyhun Gubadov’s mother
Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Hafiz Heydarov; Two persons have been arrested over the death of Azerbaijani Army’s soldier Jeyhun Gubadov, the deceased soldier ’s mother Samira Gubadova told APA. Gubadova said that she has been received by Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov today: “The Prosecutor General said that the criminal case is being investigated under the control”. Samira Gubadova noted she was informed about the arrest of two persons – one soldier and officer over the incident.

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Soldier Jeyhun Gubadov’s mother Samira Gubadova addresses public
Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Hafiz Heydarov; Addressing the Azerbaijani people and youth, I sincerely thank to everyone, who shared our grief due to the death of my son Jeyhun Gubadov”, it is noted in the appeal sent to APA by Samira Gubadova, mother of the deceased soldier of the military unit in Dashkasan.

The appeal reads: “I believe the Azerbaijani state and President Ilham Aliyev and hope that the criminal case on my son’s death will be investigated thoroughly and all the people accused of this accident will be brought to account.”

Several officials received me regarding this case. I am grateful to those persons and members of the parliament for supporting me and my family and sharing our grief. The support of our state and government is sufficient for us. No one has the right to take advantage of my grief, sorrow. I ask not to use it for political purposes and object to any action in connection with it.”

(Katy: there have been online reports that the mother doesn’t support the protest like this. I can only assume that regardless of her feelings, she is being made to say this.)

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Head of the press service of the Defense Ministry: “If the investigations detect other guilty people, they will also be punished”
Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Mahbuba Gasimbayli; Azerbaijani Defense Ministry confirmed the information about punishing a number of senior officers Shamkir military unit. The head of the press service of the Defense Ministry, Colonel Eldar Sabiroglu in response to a question of APA told that the public is informed about the investigation process in the case of the death of a soldier Jeyhun Gubadov:

“Of course, this is a very heavy loss. This is noted in a joint statement with the Republican Military Prosecutor’s Office. But, what can we do, sometimes it is impossible to avoid such severe cases. Azerbaijani Defense Ministry expresses deep regret to deceased soldier ’s family and friends”

E. Sabiroglu said that in connection with the case of death immediately launched an investigation in the unit where the deceased soldier served, by relevant structures of the Defense Ministry. “The Republican Military Prosecutor’s Office, in turn, on the death of a criminal case, launched an investigation. To fully clarify the situation which led to the death, the Ministry together with the Military Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate fully. The public will be informed of the outcome”.

The spokesman said that the fact about beating of soldier is seriously investigating “The leadership of the Ministry pays special attention to this issue. Let there be no doubt that the guilty people will be punished. We realize the sensitive attitude of public attention to the death of a young Jeyhun and treat it with understanding. We do not intend to looking there any other colors.”

Sabiroglu said that during the investigation carried out in connection with the death of Jeyhun Gubadov revealed some cases of misconduct in the unit: “The appropriate order of the Minister of Defense several senior army officers Shamkir connections for mistakes and miscalculations, wrong organization of control over personnel, strictly disciplined.”

The spokesman added that according to the orders of the Minister responsible officers punished by a severe reprimand to demotion: “At the same time, some of the officers were relieved of their posts. If during the investigations detect other guilty people, they will also be punished.”

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BRIEF: Senior employees of Azerbaijani Defense Ministry and Military Prosecutor’s Office seconded to investigate soldier ‘s death
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Author: E. Mehdiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Jan. 11–The Azerbaijani Military Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case under article 342.2 (negligence in service leading to grave consequences) of the Criminal Code in connection with the soldier ‘s death in a military unit in Dashkesan region.

A joint statement of the Defense Ministry and the Military Prosecutor’s Office was made on Thursday on the death of Jeyhun Gubadov who was called up for military service in a unit in the Dashkesen region of Azerbaijan .

The investigation of the soldier ‘s death is being led under special controls.

Because of the special circumstances, senior Defense Ministry officials and the Military Prosecutor’s Office are the ones being seconded to conduct the investigation.

Investigative groups on this case will provide a full and comprehensive investigation with institutional criminal proceedings against those responsible; they will update the public as soon as developments unfold.

Born in 1994, Jeyhun Gubadov was called up for military service in the Absheron region. A few days ago, he died in in Dashkesan.

The mass media released photos of the soldier ‘s corpse with visible bodily injuries.

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BRIEF: Source: Two individuals detained upon case on Azerbaijani soldier ‘s death
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Author: M. Aliyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Jan. 11–The details were added (the first version was posted at 14:26)

An officer and a soldier have been detained within a criminal case filed upon the death of Azerbaijani soldier Jeyhun Gumbadov, a source in law enforcement bodies told Trend today.

The source has not disclosed the names of detainees.

Born in 1994, Jeyhun Gubadov was called up for military service in the Absheron region. A few days ago, he died in in Dashkesan.

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Ruling party: Causes of soldier Jeyhun Gubadov’s death will be investigated
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Author: E. Mehdiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Jan. 11–The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has expressed its position regarding the death of soldier Jeyhun Gubadov in Dashkasan.

” Soldiers are our sons, and caring for the army and the soldiers who serve in it is in the centre of the President’s attention. However, unfortunately, we sometimes encounter such tragedies.”, Deputy Executive Secretary of the NAP, MP Mubariz Gurbanli told Trend.

He said the soldier ‘s death is a loss for Azerbaijan and for all of us.

“We are very saddened by this”, Gurbanli said.

He said a delegation of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party visited the family of the deceased soldier and took part in a ceremony of remembrance.

Representatives of the Absheron district administration as well as representatives of the NAP’s youth association participated in the ceremony and expressed their condolences.

Other senior representatives of the NAP visited the soldier ‘s family and expressed their sympathy, noting that the accident will be investigated.

Born in 1994, Jeyhun Gubadov was called up for military service in the Absheron region. A few days ago, he died in Dashkesan.

The mass media released photos of the soldier ‘s corpse with visible bodily injuries.

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Azerbaijani youth organizations against politicization of soldier ‘s death
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Friday, January 11, 2013
Author: E. Mehdiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Jan. 11–Azerbaijani youth organizations condemn the death of a soldier Jeyhun Gubadov, but deprecate politicization of the issue.

Chairman of the Youth Association of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party Seymur Orujov finds politicization of this issue improper.

“The deceased soldier is our brother. Investigations into his death are underway, and the information will be provided upon completion of this process.. We have no doubt about the objectivity of the investigation,” Orujov told Trend.

According to him, such incidents must not be used in political interests of the various forces.

“We sympathize with the family of the deceased, and we have no doubt concerning objective character of investigations,” Orujov said.

Chairman of the Student Youth Organizations’ Union Shahin Ismayilov also noted the inadmissibility of politicization of the issue.

“The Azerbaijani people have a particular trait: concepts such as homeland, the land and the army are sacred to them. One can not use this issue for political purposes,” Ismailov said.

According to him, the case should be investigated, and the investigation is to give an objective assessment of what happened.

The death of the soldier can’t be used by anyone in his own purposes, Ismailov said.

Jeyhun Gubadov born in 1994 was called up for military service in the Absheron region. Few days ago, he died in a military unit located in Dashkesan area.

Some media released photos of the body of the deceased with visible injuries.