MP Tahir Rzayev accused the opposition while commenting on the threatening of journalist Aytan Mammadova and the abduction and beating of public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev.
"It's the political game of the radical opposition to blame the government. Opposition politicians are allegedly being persecuted in the country. No, it is not. They spread false information about the state," Tahir Rzayev said.
Fakt Yoxla examined whether the MP's claim that opposition activists were not persecuted in Azerbaijan was true.
The US Department of State, the British Embassy in Azerbaijan, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the co-rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee of the PACE on Azerbaijan, Stefan Schennach, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, and others have called on the Azerbaijani government to investigate the attacks on journalists and activists.
A statement issued by Human Rights House on the attack on the journalist said that as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Azerbaijan has an obligation to guarantee freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders.
The Foundation called on the Azerbaijani authorities to respect their international obligations, immediately put an end to threats and violence against journalists and other human rights defenders, and carry out prompt and comprehensive investigations into crimes committed against them.
A report released this year by Human Rights Watch states that the Azerbaijani government continues to persecute the opposition and other critics. Therefore, many people are detained or arrested on trumped-up charges.
“The government remained hostile to dissenting voices. Restrictive laws continued to prevent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from operating independently. Reports of torture and ill-treatment persisted throughout the year,” the organization said.
It is possible to come across similar criticism of Azerbaijan in Human Rights Watch's previous reports as well.
Amnesty International's 2022 report also states that the Azerbaijani government continues to persecute its critics. The document states that peaceful protests have been violently dispersed and that restrictions on the activities of NGOs still exist.
The Union for Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan released a new list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan on February 21, 2022. 126 prisoners included in the list have been divided into 6 groups, including journalists and bloggers; members of opposition parties and movements; believers; those convicted in the Tartar case; those convicted in the Ganja case; lifers. However, the list, released in December last year, included 122 political prisoners.
It should be noted that Tahir Rzayev's claim is not the only statement addressed to the opposition from the parliament. Although Bahar Muradova, who was the Vice-Speaker of the Milli Majlis in 2019, claimed that there were no political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Fakt Yoxla concluded that what she said was false.
In April of this year, Fakt Yoxla concluded that MP Elman Nasirov's claim that no one had been arrested in Azerbaijan for his/her political position was false.
Fakt Yoxla concludes that MP Tahir Rzayev's claim is a Manipulation of Facts.