Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADR) Chairman, Gubad Ibadoglu, was arrested and sentenced to 3 months and 26 days of detention.
He was charged under Article 204.3.1 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the production, acquisition, or sale of counterfeit money or securities by an organized group. Ibadoglu vehemently denied the accusation, stating it was false and that his arrest was carried out directly on the orders of the country’s head, Ilham Aliyev.
Following Ibadoglu’s detention, Turkish media outlets close to the government reported the arrest of four individuals related to the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” in Azerbaijan. Among them, Anar Aliyev testified that Gubad Ibadoglu sold him fake dollars, leading to a search of the economist’s office. In response, Ibadoglu claimed that he did not know Anar Aliyev at all.
During the detention, Ibadoglu’s wife, Irada Bayramova, also faced violence, having been detained for hours together with her husband by the “Bandotdel.”
Bayramova issued an appeal to the people of Azerbaijan, claiming that her husband was detained by the order of President Ilham Aliyev and was falsely accused of selling counterfeit money. She reported that both of them endured violence during their detention, resulting in physical injuries, and expressed concern that Ibadoglu was being denied necessary medication despite his health conditions.
The authorities claimed to have found 40 thousand dollars during searches at Ibadoglu’s house, but he asserted that the funds did not belong to him. Moreover, his brother, Ghalib Togrul, stated that he could not open the office door when he arrived there in the morning.
Gubad Ibadoglu is recognized for his critical views on political power and has been actively involved in scientific research and teaching at several Western universities. If convicted, he could face a prison term ranging from 8 to 12 years based on the charges brought against him.
The arrest of Ibadoglu, a renowned economist and opposition figure, has drawn significant attention, and many are questioning the grounds and motivations behind his detention.
Nationally, the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) condemned the violent detention of Gubad Ibadoglu and his wife by the Main Organized Crime Department. They linked his arrest to his critical stance on government policies. Additionally, the Musavat Party raised objections and called for a transparent investigation.
The case also reached the international level.
Matthew Miller, the spokesman of the United States State Department, expressed his concern over the arrest of the economist and called on Azerbaijan to protect the human rights and freedoms of its citizens, in accordance with its constitution and international obligations.
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum’s Azerbaijan National Platform issued a statement condemning the arrest of Ibadoglu. The platform expresses concern over the reported violence and inhumane treatment he and his wife faced during their detention and believes that Ibadoglu’s arrest is politically motivated, citing his critical speeches on the government’s economic policy.