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“Living in Azerbaijan is my right”, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, former prisoner of conscience, talks to JAMnews about plans for the future.

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Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, known for his outspoken criticism of the authorities, emigrated from Baku to Georgia in 2014. In 2017, he was abducted in Tbilisi, and imprisoned in Baku.

The BBC Azerbaijani service reported at the time that Mukhtarli had managed to call his lawyers and say that he had been “kidnapped” and that he was in the main building of the state border service in Baku.

He was then sentenced to six years, accused of illegally crossing the border, smuggling and resisting a law enforcement official.

He served almost three years. On March 17, 2020 the court decided to replace the remainder of the term with a suspended one.

Immediately after his release, Mukhtarli flew to Germany, where his family lives in political emigration.

International human rights organizations consider Afgan Mukhtarli a prisoner of conscience.

JAMnews spoke with Afgan via Skype about his plans for the future.

“It would be more correct to introduce me as a journalist in exile, rather than in emigration. Emigration is often voluntary. And they replaced my arrest with exile”, says Afghan Mukhtarli.

“It would be good to return to Georgia”

Mukhtarli says that he has experience in emigration. In 2015-2017, he lived in Georgia, and he considers this period of his life as a journalist fruitful.

I conducted an investigation regarding the business owned by the President of Azerbaijan and his relatives.”

Afgan says he was more comfortable working in Georgia than in Germany.

In Germany, I will also be involved in journalism. Azerbaijani journalists have experience in emigration, but it would be nice for me to return to Georgia. There I can work better.”

Mukhtarli said investigative journalism is a lengthy process, and that therefore, he will also be engaged in active journalism: “I will cooperate with Azerbaijani and European media.”

“I’m undergoing medical exams”

I lived in extreme conditions, from the age of 17 I participated in battles [meaning the Karabakh war in the early 1990s – JAMnews]. And it seriously affected my health.”

Before the arrest, Mukhtarli suffered from diabetes. In addition, he has cardiovascular problems.

Now I’m going through an examination. May the Azerbaijani authorities not rejoice that I am sick and cannot work.”

“I have no intention of becoming a professional human rights defender”

It is believed that journalists work in the field of human rights. We highlight the problems of those whose rights are violated, protect those who are in custody. And I will continue to do so.

But I have no intention of becoming a professional human rights defender.”

The biggest problem

In Germany, language is a problem for him. So far, it helps that his family members speak several languages.

And it so happened that in my 50s I have to learn German. But learning a language does not mean that I am moving away from journalism. I will do this in parallel with my journalistic activities. I’ll try to ensure that in a year I don’t have problems with German.”

“The only country in the South Caucasus where there are glimmers of democracy is Georgia”

The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has repeatedly stated that it failed to get an explanation from Afgan Mukhtarli. My first duty is to go to the prosecutor’s office and give these explanations.

This is a matter of principle, and the Georgian government must answer for the crime. This is the fault of the entire government of Kvirikashvili [former prime minister – JAMnews] led by Ivanishvili [leader of the Georgian Dream party – JAMnews].

I won’t leave it like that. And not just for myself. Georgia was the only country in the South Caucasus with glimpses of democracy. If this crime is not solved and the people who committed it are not punished, fertile ground will be created for such lawlessness.”

Mukhtarli says that democratic societies should be built in all states of the South Caucasus, and journalists should not be abducted and arrested.

“I never wanted to move to Europe”

Mukhtarli says that although from 2003 to the present he had the opportunity to move to Europe, he did not.

I joined the national liberation movement at the age of 15, and at 17 I fought for the sovereignty of the country. And I have more rights to live in Azerbaijan than Ilham Aliyev or any official who has expelled me,” Mukhtarli says.

Full record of the video interview with Afgan Mukhtarli in Azerbaijani

The post “Living in Azerbaijan is my right”, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, former prisoner of conscience, talks to JAMnews about plans for the future. appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Weather forecast for tomorrow unveiled

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The weather will be changeable cloudy and gloomy in Baku and Absheron peninsula on January 28, Report informs, citing the National Hydrometeorology Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

The south-west wind will blow. The temperature will be +4-+6 C at night, +7-+9 C in the daytime gloomy in Baku and Absheron peninsula.

Atmospheric pressure will drop from 761 mm Hg to 755 mm Hg, and relative humidity will make 75-85% at night, 50-55% in the daytime.

The weather will be mainly rainless in the regions of Azerbaijan. However, snow and rain is predicted in some western districts in the evening. It will be foggy in some places. West wind will blow and intensify occasionally.

The temperature will be -2 and +3 C at night, +7+11 C in the daytime. In the mountains, 0 and -5 C at night, +3- +8 C in the daytime.

As for the medical and meteorological forecast, weak fluctuations of meteorological factors are expected in the Absheron Peninsula on January 28, which is mainly favorable for sensitive people.

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Turkish nasal spray kills coronavirus in 1 minute

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The outbreak of COVID-19, which has now affected the whole world, put many microbiologists to work finding solutions. Report informs referring to the Daily Sabah.

While health care professionals labor intensely in laboratories to develop tests, vaccines, and treatments, a nasal spray has been developed at Bursa's Uludağ University that can kill the coronavirus in just one minute.

The solution named Genoxyn, which ultimately kills the virus, was developed by associate professor Dr. Şehime Gülsün Temel, operator Dr. Ahmet Ümit Sabancı, and Dr. Cüneyt Özakın, a faculty member of Uludağ University's Medical Microbiology Department.

The researchers collaborated with academics from Uludağ and Çukurova universities to test the developed solution's antimicrobial and antiviral effects. The study found that the solution prevented the reproduction of bacteria and viruses.

Sabancı said he had been carrying out his studies on protection from disease before the coronavirus pandemic started. "With Cüneyt Özakın, we showed that the solution has antibacterial activity, and after the pandemic began, we thought about whether we could develop this solution to contribute to (the fight against) COVID-19. So, we refined a new oral and nasal spray and sent it to biocompatibility tests," he said.

"It was already known that the transmission points of the virus are the mouth and nose, and our studies determined that the solution both killed and cured the virus on the mouth and nose tissue. The death of the virus in a short time means preventing its entry into the cells and reducing the virus's number. If the solution can prevent contamination, it will be a good protector for us," Sabancı explained.

Meanwhile, Temel proved the solution kills the virus within a minute and, most importantly, showed that the solution does not damage people's epithelial cells in their mucous membranes. "We have even shown that it has a healing effect on these cells. Therefore, this means that it is safe to use as it does not harm human cells," she said.

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Azerbaijan to import McDonald’s burger buns from Georgia

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A new McDonald’s bakery plant will be built in Tbilisi, Temur Chkonia, the owner of the McDonald’s franchise in Georgia, said in an interview with Formula TV channel, the Georgian bureau of Report informs.

He said that the plant would open at the end of next month or early March.

‘About 6 million euros will be invested in the plant, which will be the fourth in the world owned by McDonald’s,’ he noted.

The businessman added that the products would be exported.

‘First of all, they will be exported to Azerbaijan, where there are 22 McDonald’s restaurants. Delivery of products to the southern part of Russia is also possible,’ he said.

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