[Update] Speaking to a group of journalists on October 20, activist Ahmed Mammadli said his arrest was ordered by the state and that he was now being sent against his will to complete the compulsory military service less he drops his advocacy around peaceful coexistence between the two nations. The authorities said they would guarantee his safety and allow him to pursue his education abroad if he complied. But Mammadli is defiant and vowed to fight such measures from happening to any activist in the country. “I and our movement, won’t allow for this to happen again,” said Mammadli. “I refused their offer because my values are not for sale,” explained Mammadli to journalists at a press conference held in Baku shortly after his release from detention.
On September 20, police in Baku arrested a political activist, and the chairman of the Democracy 1918 (D18) movement Ahmed Mammadli. Mamadli was detained by men in non-uniforms and later sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention on bogus charges. The local police claimed Mammadli was arrested on the grounds of resisting the police.
Mammadli was among a handful of civil society activists who made public calls for peace, regarding the recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In his posts, Mammadli criticized the state for the recent clashes, saying the responsible officials, including the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, should be held accountable. “One day, Ilham Aliyev will answer before the international courts the crimes he committed not only against the Azerbaijani people but also against the Armenian people. The first task of a democratic Azerbaijan will be to punish those who make nations hostile to each other,” wrote Mammadli on September 15. In another post, Mammadli, called the president a “dictator” who had “blood on his hands”.
Mammadli announced he was going on a hunger strike following his arrest.
During the most recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the State Security Service blocked access to TikTok.
Separately journalists from independent news platforms reported attempts to hack into their social media accounts during the most recent clashes due to their critical coverage. Verbal attacks on peace activists and journalists providing critical coverage of the escalations were also documented. Both journalists and activists said their social media accounts were getting temporarily suspended by Facebook as a result of mass (fake) reporting.
Giyas Ibrahim, was among those whose personal Facebook profile was suspended likely as a result of inauthentic accounts mass porting the profile to the platform and abusing the platform’s community standards. Although access to his profile resumed after the 6-day restrictions ended, the activist’s posts continue to be moved lower in the feed. In a notice Ibrahim received from Facebook, the platform claimed, Ibrahim posted something that violated Facebook’s policies.
In a separate case, activist and founder of Azad Soz platform, Tural Sadiqli said Facebook suspended access to his own profile over a post, the platform claimed was in violation of its community standards. The said post was about the story of a man who self-immolated outside a government building that normally provides citizens in need with housing. The rest of the post talked about the reactions of various government institutions including the one outside of which the man set himself on fire. This temporary suspension delayed Sadiqli’s work updating the Facebook page of Azad Soz, a popular anti-government online platform, that Sadiqli administers.