L. Yunus "My suitcase expects 35 years"

21 April 2014
 
                          
Today late afternoon I got to know the charges brought against Rauf Mirkadirov under Article 274 of the AR Criminal Code (high treason and espionage; term of punishment from 10 years in prison till life term).
 
The information which I received leaves no doubt that the arrest of Rauf Mirkadirov and him being accused of espionage for Armenia target to arrest a group of civil society activists as a network of Armenian spies and directly me.
He was blamed for his participation in the joint projects of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (Azerbaijan, Director Leyla Yunus) and Region Research Center (Armenia, Director Laura Bagdasaryan). Moreover, it is Laura Bagdasaryan, allegedly representing the special agencies of Armenia, who is introduced as a main ‘recruiter’ of R. Mirkadirov. 
 
Our organizations have been cooperating since 2005 on the following projects:
- Elimination of Stereotypes. Formation of the Common Access
Joint project between IPD and Armenian NGO Investigative Journalists / Region Research Center (RRC); grant from Conciliation Resources (UK), (September 2005-December 2009)
 
- Breaking Stereotypes and Creating Common Information Space
Joint project between IPD and Region Research Center (RRC) (Armenia); grant from the British Embassy in Azerbaijan and Armenia (April 2010-January 2014)
 
- Public Dialogue
Joint project between IPD and Region Research Center (RRC) (Armenia); grant from the Polish Embassy in Azerbaijan (June –December 2013)
 
In consequence of implementation of these projects, the first-ever joint Azerbaijani-Armenian website 
was initiated.
 
Many times Rauf Mirkadirov participated as an expert in the internet-conferences of the website, visited Armenia within other joint projects between IPD and Armenian NGOs. This, in particular, is present in the accusation.
 
I do not know how much time is left before my arrest. But my arrest is predictable. My human rights activities have long obviously irritated Ilham Aliyev.
 
In 2011 after my interview to New York Times on August 10 about law arbitrariness in breaching the property right of the citizens residing in the center of Baku, on August 11 night our house, which seated our IPD office, was demolished with a bulldozer together with all the property
 
The Executive Authority of Baku city does not enforce the decisions of courts of all jurisdictions, including the Supreme Court, on recovery of fair compensation for the demolished property
 
We have, nevertheless, kept on our activities. The information posted by IPD on the joint Azerbaijani-Armenian website has irritated the authorities (I was told about this). The list of political prisoners published by me in March 2014 after the official statement of the President in Brussels saying that ‘Azerbaijan does not have political prisoners’, made them start a spy hunt.
 
By ‘unkenneling our espionage ring’ the Aliyev regime will kill two or even three birds with one stone:
 
- Put an end to joint Azerbaijani-Armenian projects with participation of independent NGOs; only GONGOs will ‘cooperate’ with Armenian colleagues
- Punish another group of stroppy human rights defenders and preclude extensive investigations of illegal actions of the authorities seeking political repressions
- Make fear capture the minds of people
 
Dr. Leyla Yunus
Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour
Winner of the International Theodor-Haecker-Prize
Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy
 
P.S. Two brothers of my grandfather were shot in the Stalin era. The third brother
 was exiled to the extermination camp in Siberia where he died. My grandfather served his term and raised all the orphan children of his killed brothers.
 
The family of my grandmother, an ethnic German, was exiled to Kazakhstan in 1941. No-one survived…
Today’s Azerbaijan exactly resembles Azerbaijan of their days
 

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