All posts tagged: ilham aliyev

International Women’s Day: Free Khadija Ismayilova!

Happy International Women’s Day! Time to remember an important one, Khadija Ismayilova, in jail, for being damn good at her job as an investigative reporter and raising mighty quantities of hell while investigating Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and family’s shady business dealings. Turns out they are looting their country! I had the privilege to work with Khadija, be challenged by Khadija, and occasionally even bullied and reminded of moral courage and moral cowardice by Khadija. She is pure quality and intellect and she is serving a 7.5 year sentence for incitement to suicide by a boyfriend who has since recanted and was at the center of an effort at sexual blackmail against Khadija that occurred four years ago to this day with the arrival of a mysterious envelope postmarked Moscow and delivering contents reflecting pure KGB tactics. She went public, just a few months before Eurovision, so they retaliated by releasing a video on a mirror site made to look like one of the opposition parties, Musavat, who would of course have no interest in …

Seven Years, Six Months for Khadija Ismayilova or The Shame of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

This is Khadija Ismayiova, a PEN Freedom to Write, International Women’s Media Fund Courage in Journalism award-winning Azerbaijani investigative journalist. Today she was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail in Azerbaijan for the crime of committing really, really good journalism by investigating and reporting accurately and truthfully on the shady business dealings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family. Unless of course you believe she is guilty of her actual charge, inciting an ex-boyfriend who was compromised by Azerbaijani “Security Services” to suicide – a charge he has since recanted. Oh and p.s. he remains alive to have made the accusation. The Aliyevs’ interests touch every aspect of the economy, from oil to gold mines to telecoms to aviation to luxury hotels to presumably so much more. We know this because of Khadija’s efforts. Today, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed the Aliyevs interest in yachts allegedly owned by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic or SOCAR. Wife Mehriban’s biggest problem seems to be that the yachts …

Voice of America (VOA) Azeri Language Service: “I Admire the Courage of Khadija.” [Interview]

Yesterday via e-mail I gave an interview to Voice of America (VOA) Azeri language service journalist Emil Quilyev. The full interview in Azerbaijani can be found on the Voice of America website. Below is the unedited original, without translation which also appears on the website of Radio Azadliq, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani language service. VOA: There have been some recent developments in Khadija Ismayil’s case. Nothing major. However, according to her lawyer Fariz Namazli, the accusation of disseminating state secrets have been lifted. What do you make of these trial proceedings? Amanda Rivkin: I do not know enough about Azerbaijani trial law to comment on the particulars. My guess is that the state has come under tremendous pressure from international organizations over this case and slight developments can be used by the government, primarily for external purposes, to show Khadija is being given something resembling “fair treatment” under the law. Of course I believe this case is entirely political and based on her investigations into the president’s family’s businesses in Azerbaijan and their various …

Khaled Hosseini Joins Call to Free Jailed Azerbaijani Journalist Khadija Ismayilova

Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, released a statement yesterday through PEN International calling for the release of my friend and colleague, jailed Azerbaijani journalist, Khadija Ismayilova. Khadija translated The Kite Runner into Azerbaijani. Hosseini told PEN: “I am deeply saddened by the news that the Azerbaijani government has arrested Khadija Ismayilova,” said Hosseini in a plea for the release of his Azeri translator. “As a writer, I value as sacred the freedom to write and share ideas without fear of persecution, a liberty essential to any sort of meaningful dialogue. The Azerbaijani government’s many attempts to silence Khadija and strip her of this freedom speak volumes about her courage and influence in the face of extreme oppression.” […] “I am honored that Khadija was the voice that brought my story to Azerbaijan,” said Hosseini. “Now it is my time to add mine to hers. I hope the world will join me in calling for her immediate release and unconditional return to her important work as a journalist.” …

TIME: Selling Azerbaijan

Selling Azerbaijan TIME by William Lee Adams May 14, 2012 Last May, Ell & Nikki, an obscure duo from Azerbaijan, won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. The country’s President, Ilham Aliyev, treated the musical win like a military triumph, describing it as “a victory for the people of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani state.” By winning the pan-European singing contest — which, kitschy as it is, unites the region like little else — Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, earned the right to host this year’s show, which will be broadcast to more than 100 million people at the end of May. […]

Young Explorers’ Grant Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline Photo Essay Published On National Geographic Website

Pictures: At Five Years Old, BTC Pipeline Moves Oil, Culture National Geographic June 10, 2011 A New World Unveiled Photograph by Amanda Rivkin The landlocked Asian nation of Azerbaijan forged a powerful connection to the West five years ago with the first delivery of oil through one of the most ambitious energy projects of a generation—a $4.2 billion, 1,100-mile (1,800-kilometer) pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean coast. When the deal was originally struck in 1994 for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, the late Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev called it “the Contract of the Century”—the first time a former Soviet state had signed a deal for its oil to reach international markets without going through Russia. It was also hailed as a major policy success for the United States, which had engaged in years of intensive diplomacy to build an avenue for Caspian oil wealth that did not rely on Moscow. (Related: BP’s map of the pipeline route) The BTC has the capacity to deliver 1.2 million barrels of oil per day to the Turkish port of Ceyhan …

Cablegate Continued: The System Is Watching and Other Sordid Tales From the Day’s Affairs of State

Accessing the WikiLeaks site has gotten difficult, if not impossible now despite mirror sites and domain names registered at last check in France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. However, those that visit the site undoubtedly receive a malware infection pretty fast. Similar tactics took down The Guardian’s website yesterday when it attempted to host a live, online chat with WikiLeaks founder, Interpol fugitive, and known loon, Julian Assange. I hate to ask an obvious question of Mr. Assange, but how does he expect a nation-state, a superpower notably to react? If he gets away with it, so can anyone and the United States of America cannot have that. Joking aside, there is a serious, massive question of what to do with Mr. Assange, how to prosecute him, all the while keeping in mind he may have made himself into a willing martyr of the data revolution and that the U.S. arsenal includes everything from drones to nuclear weapons, neither of which will be used in this case given the strategic predicament. To date, there has been …

The Best in WikiLeaks Cablegate Coverage from News Sites Around the World

December 2, 2010: “El ‘antiamericano’ Garzón tuvo especial seguimiento,” El Pais [in Spanish] Published under a headline on the homepage of the website, “El ‘antiamericano’ Baltasar Garzon” – photographs of Baltasar Garzon on Amanda Rivkin PhotoShelter archive. “Mafia Analogy for Aliyev Dynasty: Ilham Aliyev and Corleone Brothers (Wikileaks),” AzeriReport ” In US diplomatic cables newly released by Wikileaks, Aliyev clan’s rule over Azerbaijan is compared to mafia, specifically to the Corleones family in the famous ‘Godfather’ movie series. Ilham Aliyev himself ‘described alternately as a mix of “Michael” and “Sonny.”‘ Maintaining ‘a clever, realistic foreign policy’ that he inherited from his father, he reminds of the cold-calculated alliance builder Michael Corleone. But his domestic policies, with crude retaliation against even minor challenges to his authority and criticism, resemble the ‘brash, impulsive’ Sonny Corleone.” related posts: “Mafia Analogies for the Aliyev Family in WikiLeaks/U.S. State Department Cablegate: Is He Michael or Sonny?” Includes links to relevant background articles and blog posts to understanding the Aliyev/Corleone cable: “Donkey Video,” Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade/OL! “Shown Trial,” Fortnight …

Mafia Analogies for the Aliyev Family in Wikileaks/U.S. State Department Cablegate: Is He Michael or Sonny?

The ongoing flood of U.S. diplomatic cables released by the online repository of leaked government and corporate documents Wikileaks known as “Cablegate,” has led to the release of a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku using a mafia analogy of the Corleones from the popular “Godfather” movie based on the Mario Puzo novel of the same title questioning whether Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev is like Michael or Sonny and rendering father Heydar essentially Vito. The cable makes two passing referencing to Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, released from prison a little less than two weeks ago after serving several months each on trumped up charges of hooliganism most observers said was little more than a ruse following their satiricial video, dubbed the “donkey video”: Commenting on the GOAJ’s harsh reaction to the YouTube “donkey video” (Reftel A), –––– quipped to the Charge that what one must understand about Aliyev, “He’s not Michael Corleone, he’s Sonny.” Recently in Fortnight Journal I wrote of this video in an article entitled, “Shown Trial”: Milli’s great crime against …

Shown Trial: Emin Milli and the Future of Azerbaijan

Shown Trial Fortnight Journal November 26, 2010 What happens to the Vaclav Havels of the world when their velvet becomes bloody? Azerbaijan, after its 2005 push for openness and reform in government, found itself somewhere among Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968 and Poland in 1981. A human tragedy began; replete with obligatory (in the post-Soviet world) sideshows, show trials, political arrests and imprisonments of intellectuals—followed by their occasional, conditional release. When I met Emin Milli, one such Azeri prisoner of conscience, he was on leave from prison in Azerbaijan this summer for one week to attend his father’s funeral and mourn his passing. He sat with his wife, Leyla, and mother, Natella, in a cousin’s home, surrounded by friends and family in the village of Boyuk Oyrad, in his native Neftcala region of Azerbaijan. Leyla would later remark to Radio Free Europe how unfortunate it was that “someone had to die, so that we may talk.” Among such circles of dissent, history has provided for the emergence of several archetypes. Some dissenters are reluctant …