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“Autumn will be even worse” – journalist’s letter criticizing gov’t response to pandemic causes stir in Azerbaijan

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TV presenter and blogger Azer Garib published an open letter on his Facebook page in which he accused the Azerbaijani authorities of taking an irresponsible attitude towards the coronavirus pandemic and criticised the deplorable state of the healthcare system.

Garib is indignant about the fact that the authorities are holding the public responsible for the continuing rise in coronavirus cases, saying that people simply aren’t complying with the quarantine requirements enough.

We’ve been under quarantine for four months, and we haven’t seen any progress.

People don’t believe the virus exists because they do not believe [the authorities].”

The post received a lot of support among the Azerbaijani population, and within a day, had received more than 16,000 likes and was re-published more than 8,000 times.

As of July 8, there are 21,374 reported coronavirus cases in Azerbaijan. Of these, 265 have died and 12,635 have recovered. For several months now, the country has been under an almost constant strict quarantine regime, with only a few breaks. Shopping centers are closed and the metro has stopped running. Public transport is shut down on the weekends, and most businesses are closed. One of the main restrictions is on movement. People are required to stay at home, and can only go out for two hours a day, and only after receiving special SMS permission from the authorities.

It will be worse in autumn

Azer Garib wrote the open letter in response to statements made at the most recent press briefing by representatives of TƏBİB, the official structure responsible for combating the coronavirus pandemic in Azerbaijan.

In particular, they reported that in other countries, and not just in Azerbaijan, the situation is deteriorating again and there is a rise in coronavirus cases. Therefore, the strict quarantine is justified. Moreover, it was reported that the situation may get even worse in the autumn.

What does this warning mean, that the situation will get worse? Then why are we suffering, what’s the point of the quarantine?” writes Azer Garib.

Scientists all over the world are literally shouting that people need vitamin D. And we, who live in a city by the sea, are locked in our homes. Yes, the doctors are right: in autumn, it will be even worse, because now, people are deprived of the sun, sea air, and don’t have the opportunity to strengthen their immune system, which will hurt them enormously in the autumn.”

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Garib asked the Coronavirus Operational Headquarters talk about other countries that were successful in combating the pandemic.

Why don’t you tell us about Georgia? Why don’t you tell us that Britain, which introduced quarantine later than other countries, has already lifted their strict quarantine? Why don’t you comment on the example of Belarus?”

Azer Garib said the quarantine regime that has been implemented in Azerbaijan for the last four months was like “a game of roulette.”

“Let’s close the subway. No, let’s open the subway. Let’s set up [police] posts. No, let’s remove the posts. Let people out of the house. No, lock people in their homes. Why has it been impossible to coordinate between the various government institutions over the past four months in order to develop a unified policy?” the journalist writes.

Doctors should educate the population. They must explain that even if you get sick with a coronavirus, this does not mean that you will die from it,” the journalist writes.

Instead of accusing people of not complying with quarantine, it is better to give them hope that the measures taken by the government will lead to an improvement in the situation, because then, they will adopt them, the letter says.

The post “Autumn will be even worse” – journalist’s letter criticizing gov’t response to pandemic causes stir in Azerbaijan appeared first on English Jamnews.

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‘Our Animals Are Dying’: Water Goes Bad In Azerbaijani Village

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Residents in the village of Banka in Azerbaijan say they lack basic water supplies for themselves and their animals after water in the Kura River dropped and became contaminated with salt water from the nearby Caspian Sea. Experts believe farming, a major hydroelectric plant upstream, and climate change could be to blame.Read Original Article here by RFERL

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Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches

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As of August 3, citizens of Baku and 14 other cities and regions in Azerbaijan have spent six weeks living under a strict quarantine regime due to the coronavirus.

Since June 21, people have been allowed to go outside for three hours a day after receiving SMS permission from the authorities, and all stores are closed, excluding grocery stores and pharmacies.

Public transport is not running on Saturdays or Sundays.

The authorities’ most recent decision states that the quarantine will end at 6 am on August 5. However, no statement has been released about lifting the quarantine, and there is a growing fear that it may be extended.

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Within the past three weeks, there were several times when the quarantine was scheduled to be lifted, but was instead extended. But the authorities had issued a statement informing citizens ahead of time.

Azerbaijan continues to celebrate Eid al-Adha, and August 4 is the first working day after the holiday.

MP of the Milli Mejlis Musa Guliyev reported some positive news:

“The roads between cities and regions will reopen, the metro will start running again, and people will be able to leave the house without SMS permission. But at the same time, we musts not forget that the epidemic is still going on and we must adhere to safety measures.”

However, people on social networks have more to say about the pessimistic forecast of the chief infectious disease specialist Jalal Isaev.

He said that the authorities may extend the strict quarantine for several more weeks in order to bring the number of new cases a day down into the double digits.

Over the past 24 hours, 286 new cases have been reported in Azerbaijan, bringing the total since the beginning of the epidemic to 32,443 cases. Eight more people have died, bringing the total in Azerbaijan to 462. 27,113 people have recovered.

Baku, Tbilisi Avenue. Photo JAMnews

The post Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated

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12.00 / August 2

It remains unclear whether Azerbaijani political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli, a board member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, is alive or has died in prison.

On the evening of August 1, information about his possible death from torture appeared on social media [more in the report below]. Then, former prosecutor Rufat Safarov denied this message on his Facebook page.

“The head of the department for the prevention of torture of the Azerbaijani Ombudsman’s Office, Rashid Rumzadeh, said that Fuad Qahramanli is alive,” Safarov wrote with reference to lawyer Bahruz Bayramov.

The lawyer was promised that on Monday, August 3, they would try to arrange a meeting with Qahramanli.

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Rufat Safarov, in the same post, critically noted that the ombudsman’s staff should have visited the prisoner after the alarming messages on social media and provided reliable information to his family and friends.

Instead, they postponed the issue for several days.

With the hope that Fuad Qahramanli is still alive, opposition blogger Bakhtiyar Hajiyev also writes:

I appealed to the Ombudsman about the state of Qahramanli. About half an hour later, I was informed that he was alive and that he was currently in the Kurdakhan detention center. It is reported that his condition and conditions of detention are good.

The issue is now under the personal control of Ombudswoman Sabina Aliyeva. I look forward to a solution to the issue of organizing meetings between prisoners and their families and lawyers.

There is very little information on the state of political prisoners in Azerbaijan’s prisons as a whole.

Blogger Nihad Huseyn wrote on his Twitter that opposition activist Seymur Akhmedov was able to send a letter from prison to his loved ones, in which he reported being tortured daily and beaten.

Akhmedov, like Qahramanli, was detained among 45 opposition activists for participating in a rally in Baku in support of the army on the night of July 15.

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Seymur Akhmedov writes that … a man in civilian clothes beat him for hours in the building of the Narimanov district police station,” blogger Nihad Huseyn said.

19.00 / August 1

Political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli may have died from torture in a Baku prison on August 1, local social media write. There is no official confirmation or evidence yet.

Fuad Qahramanli is one of more than 45 members of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan who were detained after the July 15 rally in Baku in support of the army.

“Ilham Aliyev [President of Azerbaijan], if something happens to the people you have arrested, you are responsible for it,” his ex-wife Zumrud Yagmur wrote on her Facebook page.

While no official confirmation has been given, a number of messages to effect have been published, amongst others by well-known investigative journalist Khadija Ismail:

Various sources say that PFPA executive director Fuad Qahramanli was tortured. There is also information that he is dead. Lawyer Bahruz Bayramov was not allowed to see him from the moment of his arrest.

“Two other party members, Baba Suleiman and Seymur Akhmadov, were also severely tortured and threatened with rape. Baba reportedly agreed to sign false statements against party chairman Ali Karimli after being tortured.

“We try to check the reports. Lawyers are not allowed to see their clients, and there is no effective mechanism against torture in Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani bloggers have recently begun to conduct a daily report in two areas: statistics on coronavirus and the number of oppositionists detained by the authorities.

The 45 opposition activists who were recently arrested were initially charged with illegal protests during the rally in support of the army on the night of July 15.

However, the charges then escalated, and some of the detainees are now charged with ‘attempting to overthrow the government’.

The post Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated appeared first on English Jamnews.

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