INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY OFFICE RAZED TO THE GROUND

August 13th, 2011
Yesterday, the Peace and Democracy Institute office on 38, Shamsi Badalbayli street was demolished without sufficient warning to remove its contents.

According Objective TV employees who arrived at the scene,  demolition work was carried out by several young workers  using heavy machinery. The scene was being managed by a number of unidentified civilian along with police officers. A few chairs and 2 air conditioning units were moved out of the office before the demolition began, but the excavator began work with the furniture, documents, a safe, and computers still inside.

Yusif Gambarov of the Azerbaijan State Property Committee, who was overseeing the demolition work,  behaved aggressively towards journalists.  He shoved and verbally insulted Turkhan Karimov of Azadlig Radio,  while he was carrying out his professional duty. Gambarov physically prevented Idrak Abbasov of Ayna-Zerkalo  newspapers and IRFS from filming in the area, and attempted to confiscate his camera. Abbasov’s right arm was injured during the altercation.

The director of the Peace and Democracy Institute Leyla Yunus is currently away from Baku on a business trip.  A few days ago, she released a statement reporting that the court had put a hold on the execuion of the decision sanctioning the demolition of the office.

The demolition of the houses on Shamsi Badalbayli street to clear the way for the “Winter Park” project has been underway for several months, under the aegis of a special state commission.

Conflicts have arisen because several residents, including the Peace and Democracy Institute, are unhappy with the compensation being offered for their properties.