Candidate’s lawyer dies during Azerbaijan vote count after ‘disputing result’

9 February 2020
Goygol police station. Image via: euroasia-news.net.

A lawyer for an independent candidate in northwest Azerbaijan has died during the vote count in Azerbaijan’s snap parliamentary election, in disputed circumstances. 

Subhan Hajiyev, 66, a lawyer for independent candidate Mohsum Aslanov, passed away on Sunday evening as the votes were being counted in the 101 Goygol-Dashkasan constituency in the village of Mollajalili, Goygol District.

[Read our election coverage: Polls close in Azerbaijan amidst widespread reports of violence and electoral violations]

Aida Eyvazova, a supporter of Aslanov, wrote on Facebook that Hajiyev ‘died of heart failure’.

‘According to our information, during a conflict with workers at the polling station Subhan Hajiyev’s blood pressure worsened and he died a few minutes after that’, she wrote.

Meydan TV reported that according to an observer at the polling station, Hajiyev protested the ‘falsification of vote counting’ in favour of the ruling New Azerbaijan party’s candidate, Elshad Mirbashir, after which a conflict arose and Hajiyev’s condition worsened.

Eyvazova added that they had pulled out their observers from all polling stations as a result and had appealed to law enforcement agencies to investigate the case.

Habib Muntazir, a journalist for Meydan TV, claimed on Facebook that Hajiyev had been ‘killed’ by supporters of Mirbashir for protesting the falsification of the vote-counting in favour of Mirbashir.

‘It seems it is the first time in election history that a candidate’s lawyer has been killed’, Muntazir commented.

Muntazir told OC Media that he obtained this information from local residents. ‘According to my information, [Hajiyev’s death] happened during a dispute’, he said.

Abbas Zalov, the chair of the 101 Goygol-Dashkasan constituency, told BBC Azerbaijan that Hajiyev ‘was surprised by the small number of votes’ for Aslanov and ‘passed out’.

‘They were campaigning here for several days, during the vote-counting, Movsum Aslanov, gained 18 votes at that polling station, Subhan Hajiyev was surprised by that and passed out. They called a doctor, but he was dead’, Zalov reportedly said.

The General Prosecutor’s Office announced that prosecutors, along with the police and a medical examiner, examined the scene of the incident and the body. They said that during the examination of Hajiyev’s body no traces of injuries were found.

‘During the initial investigation, it was identified that no complaints were sent to the polling station’s district election commission about violations of election legislation, and no conflict or other actions were noted’, the statement said.

The General Prosecutor’s office said that Hajiyev had suffered from heart disease for some time and had suffered two heart attacks and gone through coronary angiogram about 6 months ago.

They added that an investigation was underway by the Goygol District Prosecutor's Office.

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