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Anti-war activist detained by Azerbaijani security service

28 September 2020
Giyas Ibrahimov.

Azerbaijani activist Giyas Ibrahimov has been detained by the security services, allegedly for making anti-war statements online.

Ibrahimov was released later on Monday after being taken to the State Security Service building.

He told Azerbaijani Mikroskop Media that officers spoke to him about his criticism of a TV anchor on public television.

Footage streamed from Ibrahimov’s Facebook account shows the security services entering his flat in Baku and refusing to tell Ibrahimov why he is being detained. 

‘First they said they are from the police, then they said we will take you to the Military Commissariat, I asked them for the document for that, and they said they will take me to the National Security Service. I don’t oppose it. Let’s go’, Ibrahimov says on camera. 

Ibrahimov says in the video that he thinks that the reason for his arrest is complaints by ‘several people’ about his anti-war posts on social media. 

Several hours before his detention, Ibrahimov posted a screenshot of a message exchange in which a man is asking for his phone number and address.

Since war broke out on Sunday morning, Ibrahim has become known for his anti-war posts. He reported that he had been condemned by many Azerbaijanis online who told him that he was ‘losing respect’ for such statements. 

Three hours before his detention Ibrahimov made one of several posts criticising the war.

‘Two of the civilians who died in Naftlan were 9th and 7th grade siblings.’

‘Pseudo-patriots say they want a war now to prevent the conflict from being passed on to future generations. They can’t see that they don’t let the next generation come…’

Bahruz Samadov, an activist from Azerbaijan’s Nida Civil Movement, told OC Media that Ibrahimov was perhaps the only person to openly criticise the war online. 

‘They just came to his apartment and said that someone complained about his Facebook posts, his mother also posted about it on FB, this really really bad because now he is completely alone and people write comments such as: “yes he deserves it, he should be killed”, it’s totally insane.’ 

Ibrahimov has previously spent time in prison for his activism.

In May 2016, he was arrested along with fellow activist Bayram Mammadov after painting graffiti on a statue of Heydar Aliyev, the late national leader and father of the country’s current president, Ilham Aliyev. 

The activists painted the graffiti which read ‘happy slaves day’ in Azerbaijani the night before ‘Flower Day’, which is dedicated to Heydar Aliyev’s birthday. On the other side of the pedestal, another inscription read: ‘Fuck the system!’ 

Mammadov and Ibrahimov were sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of illicit drug trafficking in a case widely criticised by international rights organisations.

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