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Azerbaijan: Treatment of the Azerbaijan Milli Istiqlal party; Information on membership including the application process and a description of membership cards

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 7 April 2004
Citation / Document Symbol AZE42511.E
Reference 2
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Azerbaijan: Treatment of the Azerbaijan Milli Istiqlal party; Information on membership including the application process and a description of membership cards, 7 April 2004, AZE42511.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/41501bea23.html [accessed 24 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Azerbaycan Milli Istiqlal Partiyasi (AMIP), known as the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (Eurasianet.org 23 Oct. 2000; AMIP n.d.; Political Parties of the World 2002, 31) was formed in 1992 by Ehtibar (Etibar) Salidar oglu Mamedov (ibid.; Eurasianet.org 23 Oct. 2000). Eurasianet.org described the AMIP as an opposition party that is the "most business minded and western-like political party" in Azerbaijan (ibid.). Furthermore, the report called it "fiercely independent, shunning alliances of almost any kind with other parties" (ibid.). Even so, the party joined the opposition Democratic Bloc in 2000 (Political Parties of the World 2002, 32) and, before the 2003 Presidential election, the AMIP joined the opposition Democratic Stability Union and formed a coalition with the Popular Front Party (NDI 15 Sept. 2003, 3-4; BBC Monitoring 2 Oct. 2003)

In terms of popular support, the AMIP claims over 20,000 members (Political Parties of the World 2002, 32) with a core constituency made up of Azerbaijanis who formerly resided in Armenia (Eurasianet.org 3 Feb. 2003). In the past two parliamentary elections (1995 and 2000-2001), the party received less than ten per cent of the popular vote (Political Parties of the World 2002, 32). As a presidential candidate, Mamedov received 12 per cent of votes cast in the 1998 presidential election according to official sources (25 to 30 per cent according to some independent calculations) (Eurasianet.org 23 Oct. 2000), but only 2.9 per cent of the vote in the 2003 election (Electionworld.org 22 Mar. 2004) that saw Ilham Aliyev replace his father, Heydar Aliyev, as Azeri President (IWPR 24 Oct. 2003; RFE/RL 20 Oct. 2003).

Treatment of the AMIP

Although the Research Directorate found few reported cases of what could be characterized as mistreatment of members of the AMIP between 2001 and 2002, the same cannot be said for 2003 and especially the period following the 15 October 2003 Presidential election when protests provoked a government crack-down on opposition parties (ibid.). The Institute of War Peace Reporting (IWPR) described the crackdown as having "turned into systemic suppression of the opposition" by the end of October 2003 (24 Oct. 2003). The report stated that human rights organizations estimated that between 600 and 1,500 persons had been arrested across Azerbaijan in October 2003 (IWPR 24 Oct. 2003) and a second report added that authorities fired as many as 100 state employees found to have affiliation with opposition parties (Eurasianet.org 3 Nov. 2003).

Although actions targeted mainly members of the Musavat party and their loyalists (ibid.), reports by the pro-opposition news agency Turan noted that AMIP members were among those detained during an 18 October protest (19 Oct. 2003) and regional party executives were arrested in Saatli (Turan 8 Dec. 2003) and Ganca (ibid. 21 Oct. 2003; ibid. 18 Oct. 2003). The agency also reported that a group of election commissionaires associated with the party were arrested on 17 October 2003 (ibid.). The latter group claimed that they were pressured by police to sign false statements admitting that they provoked the October 2003 demonstrations (ibid.). The chairman of the local party branch in Ganca claimed he was arrested after refusing an offer from police to avoid arrest if he made televised claims that he had left the AMIP (ibid. 21 Oct. 2001).

In the period before the election there were also a number of AMIP party members arrested, including party officials (Turan 1 Oct. 2003; ibid. 16 Sept. 2003; ibid. 25 Aug. 2003). Mamedov claimed that associates of the ruling party subjected him to "provocations" and he was attacked by police officers while campaigning in the Lankarian-Astara region (BBC Monitoring Research 2 Oct. 2003). In addition, an AMIP branch office in the Baku district of Saatli was attacked and vandalized on 1 October 2003 by a mob that included, according to the party's press secretary, local officials and police officers (Turan 1 Oct. 2003). In September 2003, the deputy chairman of the political party Hope (Umid) claimed that he was tortured by police while in custody and ordered to testify that the leaders of numerous opposition parties, including Etibar Mamedov, had conspired to forcibly bring the Musavat Party to power (ibid. 11 Sept. 2003).

The Research Directorate was unable to obtain information concerning the membership process or a description of the party's membership cards (if any) among the sources consulted.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Azerbaycan Milli Istiqlal Partiyasi (AMIP). n.d. "National Independence Party of Azerbaijan - A Short Reference." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2004]

BBC Monitoring Research. 2 October 2003. "BBC Monitoring Guide to the Azerbaijani Presidential Elections 15 October 2003." (Azerbaijan Election Watch 3 Oct. 2003/Eurasianet.org) [Accessed 27 Oct. 2003]

Electionworld.org. 22 March 2004. "Elections in Azerbaijan." [Accessed 29 Mar. 2004]

Eurasianet.org. 3 November 2003. "Azerbaijan's New President Expresses Belief in 'Lucky Future,' As Crackdown On Opposition Continues." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2003]

_____. 3 February 2003. Daan van der Schriek. "Little to Lose: Opposition in Azerbaijan." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2004]

_____. 23 October 2000. "Thumbnail Sketches of Azerbaijan's Major Political Parties." [Accessed 29 Mar. 2004]

Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). 24 October 2003. Caucasus Reporting Service. No. 201. Roman Temnikov and Shahin Rzayev. "Azerbaijan's New Presidency Off to a Rough Start." Received by e-mail.

National Democratic Institute (NDI). 15 September 2003. Azerbaijan Presidential Elections 2003 Election Watch Report. (Eurasianet.org) [Accessed 29 Mar. 2004]

Political Parties of the World. 2002. 5th Edition. Edited by Alan J. Day. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 20 October 2003. Jean-Christoph Peuch. "Azerbaijan: Disputed President-Elect Moves to Crack Down on Opposition." [Accessed 27 Oct. 2003]

Turan News Agency [Baku, Russian]. 8 December 2003. "Azerbaijani Authorities Arrest Regional Opposition Official." (FBIS-SOV-2003-1208 9 Dec. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 21 October 2003. "Azerbaijani Opposition Activist Asked to Leave Party to Avoid Arrest." (FBIS-SOV-2003-1022 23 Oct. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 19 October 2003. "Azerbaijani Police Arrest 140 Opposition Members." (FBIS-SOV-2003-1019 21 Oct. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 18 October 2003. "Azerbaijani Opposition Claims Arrests of Activists in Regions Following Elections." (FBIS-SOV-2003-1018 21 Oct. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 1 October 2003. "Azerbaijani Opposition Party Regional Office Attacked." (FBIS-SOV-2003-1001 2 Oct. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 16 September 2003. "Azerbaijani Police Arrest Opposition Activist in Ganca." (FBIS-SOV-2003-0916 17 Sept. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 11 September 2003. "Azerbaijan: Party Official Reports Police Pressure in Custody." (FBIS-SOV-2003-0911 12 Sept. 2003/Dialog)

_____. 25 August 2003. "Azerbaijan: Police in Baku Arrest Opposition Candidate's Representative." (FBIS-SOV-2003-0825 26 Aug. 2003/Dialog)

Additional Sources Consulted

Europa 2003

Political Parties of Eastern Europe

Political Parties of the World

Unsuccessful attempt to contact the Azerbaijan National Independence Party headquarters in Baku.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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