Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev speaking Tuesday (August 28) during a meeting in front of the media in Minsk.
“You have come to a very friendly country where you are loved and respected for the great deeds which you have done — sometimes not standard ones — to support our country in hard times, connected with the issues of our state independence. Not only I personally know it and appreciate it very much, but the Belarusian people know it as well,” said Lukashenka.
And Aliyev responded…
“I’m glad to visit your wonderful country again and to have an opportunity to discuss the issues on the vast agenda of our bilateral relations again. Before we start discussing the issues in particular, I want to express our attitude to your country, to your people, which is based both on historic roots and friendly feelings.”
BAKU — Police in Azerbaijan have detained a pro-democracy photographer and blogger on charges of “hooliganism.”
Mehman Huseynov, who was arrested on June 12, works for the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety campaign group and the independent Azeri Turan news agency.
“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”
Some 30 demonstrators attempted to gather outside Baku’s public television center, but police quickly rounded them up and forced most of them into waiting cars.
The opposition has pledged to stage demonstrations this week as Baku hosts the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in an effort to draw international attention to alleged human rights abuses.
1:00 pm (EST) Friday, May 25
The 57th Eurovision Song Contest kicked off in Baku this week, but will charges of human rights abuses, media crackdowns, and graft scandals involving the first family of Azerbaijan overshadow what’s meant to be a worldwide showcase of talent and goodwill?
To discuss this topic and more, we invite you to join Elisa Munoz, Acting Executive Director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and Khadija Ismayilova, investigative reporter and talk show host for RFE/RL’s Azerbaijan Service, in a live discussion on Facebook.
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, and in parts of RFE/RL’s broadcast regions, activities were marked with conflict.
# Despite Georgia’s recent positive ranking in gay rights by the Brussels-based NGO ILGA Europe, gay rights activists in Tbilisi scuffled with counterprotesters associated with the Union of Orthodox Christian Parents. (Watch Radio Tavisupleba’s video of the protests.)
# Would-be protesters in Belarus were thwarted by Minsk authorities who repeatedly denied their requests for permits to demonstrate, citing “technical” reasons and repair work near the locations.
#The social stigma attached to homosexuality is hardly unique to Azerbaijan. But as Daisy Sindelar reports, while Baku readies to host Eurovision — an event that has featured numerous gay participants — its stance on sexual minorities is coming under fresh scrutiny.
The contract for the Chovdar gold field in western Azerbaijan, worth an estimated $2.5 billion, was awarded in an opaque process in 2007 to a U.K. consortium, AIMROC, that was hastily created for the project. Newly discovered documents now reveal that AIMROC is actually a shell company controlled by companies tied to President Ilham Aliyev’s daughters…[READ MORE]
Ilham Aliyev’s daughters, Arzu (left) and Leyla, are listed as senior managers at the Panamanian-registered companies.