Press-Secretary of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azer Gasimov’s interview to APA. SIA reports the interview.
-What is your opinion regarding the statements by the U.S. Department of State, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other organizations on Khadija Ismayilova?
- First of all, the statements made by the abovementioned non-governmental organizations, as well as the State Department spokesperson don’t reflect the reality, and no international organization gives authority to the State Department to estimate what is happening in other countries. It should be noted that a large part of the offices of these NGOs is based in the United States, and they are actually functioning as the organizations of the State Department.
I would like to note that biased and non-objective information with double standards the State Department and some so-called international NGOs are regularly disseminating on the ongoing developments in Azerbaijan, as well as the latest reactions to the case of Khadija Ismayilova are part of an anti-Azerbaijani campaign carried out by certain circles. Azerbaijan’s independent policy, significant progress in democratic development, consistent policy toward ensuring fundamental freedoms, growing international reputation and other factors cause serious concern for the forces jealous of our country. If you pay attention you can see that the State Department, which instantly comments on any small incident in Azerbaijan, gives no reaction to open and flagrant violation of human rights in several countries.
For example, aggressor Armenia, where the flagrant violation of human rights and freedoms has become commonplace, the police killed 10 protesters, wounded 200 during a peace protest of opposition representatives on the eve of the presidential elections in 2008. During the falsified presidential elections in Armenia, opposition candidates committed terrorist acts against each other. The State Department gave almost no reaction to these facts. This is a clear indication of double standards.
Instead of making baseless and biased statements about Azerbaijan on a regular basis, the State Department had better focus its attention on racial discrimination, police violence against peaceful demonstrators even teenagers and underage children, arrest of people without a court judgment and other incidents that occur in their own country almost every day. For instance, at a time when the whole world is watching the violence against the peaceful protestors who had come out in different U.S. states in regard to the Ferguson events, a horrific footage emerges of the police choking a person who shows no resistance to death before everyone’s eyes.
As I have noted, there are serious problems in the U.S. over freedoms of speech and expression in mass media outlets and regarding the activity of journalists. I’d like to mention a couple of facts. There is a growing number of inquiries by U.S. law enforcement authorities about the revelation of information sources, or even the journalists who refuse to state the information source get fined a huge amount or face criminal charges. For one thing, in 2007, blogger Josh Wolf was sentenced to 226 days in prison for refusing to present footages of the protests in San-Francisco to law enforcement authorities. In 2013, the U.S. Justice Department recording thousands of phone conversations of the Associated Press triggered a wide outrage. In September 2014, in its letter to the U.S. president the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed deep concern over the country’s law enforcement bodies exerting pressure on free dissemination of information. Up to 20 journalists were taken into custody for filming police violence during the Ferguson incidents. Also, U.S. law enforcement bodies’ full control on electronic correspondences of journalists and mass media outlets causes another difficulty for journalistic activity. There are a lot more such facts to count.
At last I would like to say once again that Azerbaijan has never prosecuted any of its citizens as well as any mass media representative over freedom of speech, and they have never suffered from pressure by any official authority. Azerbaijan has so far attained great achievements in fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as freedoms of expression and opinion within a short time, and our experience can be exemplary for many countries.