On January 31, 2020, several Musavat party social media accounts were targeted.
According to the reports, the attack began 12.00 UTC time while most of the key party affiliates including page admins were attending commemoration ceremony, celebrating the birthday of the founder of Azerbaijan Republic, Mammad Amin Rasulzade.
According to preliminary reports five Facebook pages, one Facebook group, and one website were targeted.
- Arif Hajili’s public page – Hajili, is the acting leader of the Musavat party. The page was taken over, it’s original admins removed, and out of 10,000 “likes” 744 remain;
- BastaInfo – a Facebook page dedicated to an online news site operated by Musavat party. Its ownership was changed. The “likes” dropped from 106,540 to 73,779;
- The official Facebook page of Musavat party – despite admins’ attempt to keep this page protected, they were unable to secure the page. The page was taken over by MusavatParty business account, which Musavat party used in the past, for advertisement purposes however at the time of the attack, no longer had access to this page. The name of the page was also changed;
- Musavat Youth Branch Facebook page [A] – number of followers dropped from 8000 to 5655; all admins of the age were changed to moderators and the ownership was given to the same Bastainfo.com Facebook business company profile that took over BastaInfo page;
- Musavat Youth Branch Facebook page [B] – followers here also dropped from 24942 to 194 people. The page’s name was also changed by a user named Suleyman Suleymanli whose profile no longer seems available;
- Basta! Group – the group’s admins were deleted, some 60,000 members removed from the group and the group was archived;
- basta2.com website is no longer accessible.
Recently the country’s oldest opposition party have found itself in hot waters over a fraudulent asylum scheme. As a result its been facing much scrutiny in Azerbaijan. The names of two pages were changed into: “Musavat Youth Organisation, fake documents on sale” and “Musavat Party fake residency for 3000EUR”.
The party’s press secretary Mustafa Hajibeyli told Turan News Agency the targeting was related to the upcoming early parliamentary election in Azerbaijan [scheduled on February 9, 2020] and the news of the pre-election violations.
Previosly the party was opearting bastainfo.com that was blocked by the auhtorities and its editor Mustafa Hajibeyli was handed a five year suspended sentence in February 2019.