An Azerbaijani MP faces criminal charges after he attacked a police officer at a restaurant in Northern Azerbaijan.
According to Voice of America, an argument broke out after police officer Zaur Mirzayev asked patrons, including MP Eldeniz Salimov, to leave a restaurant in the village of Nabran because of COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the Interior Ministry, the incident took place at around 01:00 on 29 July at the Stary Dvor restaurant, which belongs to a relative of Salimov’s.
Salimov has since apologised to the people of Azerbaijan, as well as President Ilham Aliyev, in a post on Facebook.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has launched a criminal investigation for ‘exceeding official authority’ using violence, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a three year ban on holding public office.
On 31 July, Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev requested that parliament terminate Salimov’s immunity as an MP.
On Monday, Parliament’s Disciplinary Commission recommended his immunity be terminated. Parliament will vote on the issue on Tuesday.
Samir Asadli, the deputy chair of the non-parliamentary opposition Civil Solidarity Party, told OC Media that he believed that a lack of democratic elections in Azerbaijan meant that MPs ‘cannot know ethics or the law’.
‘There are also doubts about the loyalty to the state and statehood of an MP who is not elected by the people.’
‘There are several criminal elements in this case, such as violating the rules of the pandemic, ill-treatment of voters, and, most importantly, violent actions towards the police, who protect the people and MPs.’
‘We would not encounter such embarrassing events if the right to vote was a fact of real life, not just written on paper.’