Statement by the Talysh National Movement

September 6, 2019 marks the year since the arrest of Fakhraddin Aboszoda (Abbasov), a leader of the Talysh National Movement, prominent scholar and journalist.
F. Aboszoda (Abbasov) was detained by law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation, where he had earlier (in 2011) received temporary asylum, and subsequently, residence permit. On February 27, 2019, he was illegally extradited from Russia to Azerbaijan Republic, in violation of one of the fundamental principles of the international law − that of non-refoulement.
For more than 6 months, Fakhraddin Aboszoda (Abbasov) has been in the detention center of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan Republic, deprived of any acceptable contacts with the outside world. Fakhraddin Aboszoda and his defense-lawyers had been constantly under pressure. One of his lawyers was forced to refuse to provide his services in fear for his safety. Local human right defenders, in their complete silence, demonstrate the amazing coherence with the Azerbaijani authorities. Over the past months after the extradition, Fakhraddin Aboszoda’s health has deteriorated, which cannot but cause real concern.
According to the available information, by the end of September, Baku intends to begin Fakhraddin Aboszoda’s a staged trial. The directors of the trial are preparing to sentence the Talysh leader to 8-14 years.
Throughout the years of independence, the Azerbaijani government has been trying to fuel its electorate with the persecution of Talish activists, scholars, journalists and national leaders. In 1993-1997, dozens of people were arrested and convicted for participating in the proclamation of the Talysh autonomy in Azerbaijan, in the summer of 1993. Four of them died in prison. Under pressure from the Council of Europe, in 2004, the last Talysh political prisoner was released.
However, three years later, in 2007, the Talysh scholar and journalist Novruzali Mammadov was arrested. In 2009, he died in prison. Three years later, in 2012, another Talish scholar and public figure Gilal Mammadov was arrested. In 2016, he was pardoned. Finally, two years later, in 2018, at the request of the Azerbaijani authorities, Fakhraddin Aboszoda, one of the leaders of the Talysh National Movement was arrested and, in early 2019, extradited from Russia.
It is obvious, the political persecution of the Talyshes is systematic in Azerbaijan Republic. Their goal is to instill fear among the Talyshis − the autochthonous population of the country. However, as both the history has shown, and the ongoing criminal cases against Talyshes testify, this people refuse to be intimidated! We will achieve our freedom! Today the freedom of the Talysh people runs through the freedom of Fakhraddin Aboszoda! The trial of Fakhraddin Aboszoda is the trial of the entire Talysh people.
As we expected and stated more than once before the extradition of Fakhraddin Aboszoda (Abbasov) to Azerbaijan, the staged investigations and trials on his case would provoke new, large-scale repressions against Talysh activists. This is exactly what happened after the arrests of all the other Talysh figures.
The investigation had already managed to interrogate dozens of Talysh activists and forced them, under psychological pressure, to sign cooperation documents. These illegal activities have several purposes.
First, they aim at fabricating evidence in the case of Fakhraddin Aboszoda (Abbasov). But the majority of those interrogated were neither in any way connected with Fakhraddin Aboszoda, nor did they know him personally.
Second, through this kind of activities, the authorities compile the lists of Talysh activists and, thus, try to scare them, hinting that one of them can be the next candidate for the arrest and fabrication of a criminal case. This old trick of the Azerbaijani special services has long lost its relevance. The Talyshes are fighting for the survival in front of the entire world community. All the international organizations are well aware that the Talyshes are a target for political persecution and complete assimilation. In such circumstances, the Azerbaijani authorities cannot afford to continue the arrests of Talysh civil activists.
Third, Baku is trying to break the Talysh movement, to sow distrust among its leaders − say, no one should be trusted, because “all work for special services”. Over the decades of struggle, our movement has managed to create an indivisible kernel, which no interrogations and threats of the Azerbaijani special services can destroy. The systemic nature of those interrogations, threats, arrests and prosecutions testifies to the helplessness of the Azerbaijani authorities in their attempts to destroy the Talysh National Movement.
The fourth purpose of these interrogations is also meaningless: the authorities will do everything they can to prove that the Talyshes themselves stand against Fakhraddin Aboszoda and his ideas. If this were so, then the Azerbaijani authorities would not have tried so stubbornly, for several years, to get him extradited from Russia.
Fifth, the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to create and fuel the image of the "Talysh separatists" as the fifth column. This approach is counterproductive. Its only result will be a complete rejection by the Talyshes of not only the current regime and its sneaky opposition, but also the state itself - the Azerbaijan Republic, which is trying to destroy our people!
The persecution of Fakhraddin Aboszoda (Abbasov), the luminary of the Talyshi humanitarian and socio-political thought and leader of the Talysh National Movement, as well as other Talysh figures will only further aggravate the position of both the ruling regime headed by Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani statehood itself!

Freedom to Fakhraddin Aboszoda!
Freedom to the Talysh people!
Freedom to Talyshistan!


Alakram Gummatzoda,
President of the Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic,
Leader of the Talysh National Movement,

The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands,

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