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AZERI KGB CLAIMS TO UNEARTH THE TERROR PLOT AGAINST OPPOSITION RALLY

The Azeri Times

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Azerbaijan’s authorities claim to have broken up a terror plot targeting an upcoming opposition rally in Baku. But the rally’s organizers say the government’s claims raise suspicions that they’re trying to frighten people away from opposition events.

Azerbaijan’s State Security Service announced on October 25 that they had thwarted a group of religious extremists in Lokbatan, on the outskirts of Baku. The group was led by an “emir” and had tested an improvised bomb on October 22, the announcement said. A law enforcement source told Sputnik Azerbaijan that the group was tied to the Islamic State.

They were reportedly targeting a rally scheduled for October 28, organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces. One of the organizers of the rally, Nureddin Mammadli, said that if there really was a plot, he was grateful to the security services. But he was skeptical.

“There may be goals to intimidate the population with the possibility of a terrorist attack at a rally, or a demonstration of the presence of opponents who are ready to commit terrorist attacks,” Mammadli told the Turan news agency.

It would be far from the first time that Baku has manufactured a supposed terror threat. For years, Azerbaijan claimed to be regularly breaking up terror attacks organized by Iran, though few believed them, including the U.S. State Department.

Lately, though, the terror plots have been blamed not on Iran but on vague foreign Islamist groups.

The alleged targeting of an opposition rally is a new twist in the ongoing story. Azerbaijan, despite an ever-widening crackdown on the remnants of political opposition and civil society, has been allowing an unusual number of opposition rallies lately.

The October 28 event will be the third in about a month, following rallies on September 23and October 7. Before that, the last opposition rally was in April. Each rally has attracted a few thousand protesters.

The government’s newfound laissez-faire attitude has led to speculation that their strategy in allowing the rallies may be to track the people who come to them. Independent journalist Khadija Ismaiyolva reported that at the September 23 rally, “Everyone entering the stadium was required to take sunglasses off, so the face recognition system cameras would be able to identify them. No wonder people are scared to come to the rally.” Not scared enough, possibly.

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Azerbaijan

Beaten to death at police station

The Azeri Times

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On 25 September, a resident of Gazakh in northwestern Azerbaijan, 37-year-old Elmir Mirza oghlu Akhundov, died at a local police station. According to his sister, Ulviyya Akhundova, he was beaten to death. Akhundova posted a series of photos showing her brother’s badly bruised body on Facebook.

The Azerbaijani Committee Against Torture told Open.az that, on the evening prior to his death, Akhundov had been in a fight with a member of a volunteer civilian law enforcement group called Public Police Support (Polisə İctimai Dəstək), in which Akhundov broke two of his opponent’s teeth. According to his sister, on the following day Akhundov was picked up by the police when he went out to buy cigarettes.

“As soon as I heard about it I went to the police department, but they wouldn’t let me in” Akhundova told Meydan TV. “A short time later an ambulance arrived. I asked what happened, but they wouldn’t tell me anything….They said somebody had had a brawl inside the police department and that was why the doctor had arrived. A short time later the hospital called to tell me that my brother had been beaten and killed and to ask me to come and take him away.”

According to Akhundova, her brother’s wrist, arm, hand, and leg were broken, and rocks were embedded in lacerations on his knees. She believes that her brother was beaten to death by the police, an accusation which the Gazakh district police department denies. Nevertheless, the Gazakh district prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal investigation into manslaughter and hooliganism.

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Azerbaijan

Special operation in Khachmaz: Terrorist neutralised

The Azeri Times

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The State Security Service (SSS) of Azerbaijan conducted a special operation, during which a member of a radical extremist group, who had been planning terrorist acts in the northern regions of the country, was killed. This is reported by the Centre for Public Relations of the State Security Service.

Information received that Najafov Nizami Adil oglu acquired weapons and explosives was confirmed as a result of investigations, after which the staff of the SSS and the prosecutor’s office started emergency measures.

As a result of the operation on disarming and bringing to justice Nizami Najafov, which took place on August 28 in Khachmaz district, the criminal refused to surrender and offered armed resistance by opening fire from a rifle.

As a result of the use of response fire from the staff of the SSS from service weapons Nizami Najafov was killed.

During the inspection of the scene near the body of Nizami Najafov, an AKSU assault rifle, ammunition to it, as well as an explosive device made by handicraft were discovered.

Operational and investigative measures are continuing.

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Criminal

Shadowy killings of participants of Ganja Protests continues long after the events

The Azeri Times

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According to the information by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a resident of Ganja, Rahimov Muraz Chapay oglu, was killed during a special police operation. Police received a tip where the criminal was hiding.

According to officials, Rahimov ignored the repeated calls of the police to lay down his arms and surrender. Instead he opened fire on law enforcement officers. Police had to use service weapons, and during the response fire the offender was killed.

Rahimov is the 6th person killed during special police operations. So far 6 killed, 61 arrested and 12 declared wanted. Many criticize Government for using the Ganja events to go after the targeted religious groups. Some even speculate that the bloody protest was staged as a bait by the Government itself to go after the ones who would rise up against the regime.

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