July 25th, 2021

The speakers at the round table condemned the illegal practices of the authorities of Azerbaijan and expressed their willingness to take legal action at a national level, as well as before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The victims of the illegal surveillance made it clear that they intend to take their case before a judge together. The participants also suggested methods on how to prevent such surveillance actions in the future.

Among the speakers at the event were the director of the Information Agency “Turan” Mehman Aliyev, lawyer Shahla Humbatova, editor-in-chief of the “Azadliq” newspaper Ganimat Zahid, executive director of IRFS Emin Huseynov, publicist Khalig Bahadir, human rights defenders Zafar Ahmedov and Avtantil Mammadlov, and journalists Mehman Huseynov, Sevinj Osmangizi, Fizze Heydarova, Jasur Mammadov Sevinj Sadygova, Natig Isbatov and Yeltsin Ismayilli.

The editor-in-chief of the “Azadlig” newspaper Ganimat Zahid called the actions of Azerbaijani authorities organized crime. According to him, they spy on their own citizens with tools usually intended for the fight against terrorism.

IRFS Executive Director Emin Huseynov noted that the active involvement and cooperation of the civil society in the matter would help it consolidate forces against cybercrimes committed by the Azerbaijani authorities.

Investigative journalist Mehman Huseynov was not surprised by the revelation of the surveillance scheme, because civil society representatives, activists and journalists have faced similar violations of their rights many times before.

Publicist Khalig Bahadir also noted that the anti-people, anti-democratic authorities consider it their duty to spy on their critics. According to him, the authorities are afraid not only of those who consistently criticize them, but also of corrupt journalists, who write laudatory articles about those in power when it serves their personal interests, but given the opportunity, may betray the Aliyevs and their allies.

Lawyer Shahla Humbatova noted in her statement that the activists and journalists affected by the surveillance scheme should join forces and go to court together, as this could have a more effective outcome.

Finally, it was announced that a group of lawyers joined forces in order to prepare and bring the case of privacy violation before local courts and the ECtHR. These lawyers insisted that, at the same time, it is instrumental to draw the attention of the international community to these cybercrimes.