political figure impersonated on various online platforms


On January 26, Azerbaijani politician, Gultekin Hajibeyli reported of two separate accounts impersonating her online. An Instagram profile claimed Hajibeyli was an escort woman, while a page on Facebook insinuated Hajibeyli was the mistress of other male politicians. Hajibeyli’s personal phone number was placed under the Instagram page which led to her receiving countless calls from unknown men requesting her services.

This is not the first time, Hajibeyli was targeted. In October, AIW reported Hajibeyli’s Facebook page was hacked. The page contained news, updates, and other entries from the politician’s activities.

Also in October, a phone conversation she had over her personal mobile number, with a US diplomat was leaked in a television show RealTV. The anchor, Mirshahin Aghayev, leaked another conversation Hajibeyli had, this time, recorded during a business lunch meeting with an EU diplomat. While both leaks were later taken down by the same television channel, the incident provided sufficient evidence of wiretapping and surveillance, and violation of Hajibeyli’s privacy.

After discovering that the reason behind numerous phone calls, was the Instagram page, Hajibeyli appealed repeatedly to the Ministry of Interior emergency hotline however, Hajibeyli was informed that identifying the perpetrators was beyond their scope of work.

“This is a state-backed moral terror campaign against me, an opposition figure, one of the leaders of the National Council […] This is revenge against my quitting the pro-government political views in 2010 and for joining the National Council in 2013”, wrote Hajibeyli in a personal statement following the most recent incidents.

Since parting her ways with the official authorities in 2010, Hajibeyli has been subject to various forms of political pressure. Her family members were fired from their government jobs. In 2013, Hajibeyli resigned from her position as an associate professor at the Caucasus University in Baku due to on-going pressure. Hajibeyli was prosecuted over the following two years on a fabricated defamation case.

At present, Hajibeyli’s private home is “under arrest”, her car was confiscated without a court order, and her son is barred from leaving the country.

“I know, to be a woman in politics is challenging everywhere. But it is twice as hard, if not more, to be a woman politician in such harsh autocracy like Azerbaijan where not only you but even your child is suffering from reprisal. Where you have no right to private life, and under permanent surveillance”, wrote Hajibeyli in her statement.

Responding to recent harassment against Hajibeyli, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil tweeted she too has faced similar harassment:


And then there was a fake Tinder page impersonating journalist Arzu Geybulla, using her personal photograph as the profile picture. While the said profile has been removed by Tinder since reporting it is worth mentioning that the profile was prepared by someone who lives in Baku.

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