Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Confirmed: Video on bullying in Azerbaijani army is genuine, “heroes” of video tape arrested

Remember I posted a video on Unzipped which shows evidence of horrific bullying in Azerbaijani army? Remember how officials from the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan were casting doubts on that video saying that it was staged to discredit the Azeri army etc. etc. Well, they can no longer do so. Moreover, new evidence is emerging to confirm the systematic nature of the problem.

20 October 2008

"Heroes" of video tape about violence in Azerbaijani army, posted in Internet, arrested

A criminal proceeding has been instituted into the case of the video tape, recording humiliating actions against conscripts by older soldiers, posted on the YouTube website.

Two junior sergeant of N Military Unit of the Internal Force of Azerbaijan, dislocated in Hajiqabul, have been arrested, reports Day,Az with reference to the Yeni Musavat newspaper.Thus, the arrested are junior sergeants Vuqar Aliyev and Eldeniz Rehimov. It has already been five days that they are kept in the Bail investigation facility.Commander of the military unit Hamlet Gurbanov and his deputy on educational works Beyler Eminov have been dismissed.The press service for the Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan confirmed this fact, saying that the commander of the military unit and his deputy were dismissed.It should be noted that a video tape recording humiliation of conscripts by older soldiers in Azerbaijani army has recently been posted on the YouTube video sharing website.

Below is Chronology of official lies.

7 October 2008

"This is a smeary provocation against the army. This video tape is a "good" play. It seems that by wearing the military uniform and recording this on the cell phone, someone tried to create a material about violence in the army. I do not think that those who recorded it and those who posted it on the website are people, who love the Azerbaijani army", said spokesman for Azerbaijani Defence Ministry Eldar Sabiroghlu commenting on the fact that investigation revealed “no such incidents inside the Azerbaijani army”.

8 October 2008

“Now Armenians try to use any, even insignificant, negative fact to throw shadow on Azerbaijan and its armed forces", said Mubariz Ahmedoghlu, head of the centre of political innovations and technologies.

14 October 2008

"All military units had been inspected by Safar Abiyev's order but the "heroes" of the videotape about violence in the army have not been found"

“All military units, controlled by the ministry, have been inspected by the order of Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiyev", said spokesman for Azerbaijani Defence Ministry Eldar Sabiroghlu. He noted that the results of investigation proved that the "heroes" of this videotape do not serve in any unit of the Ministry and there have not been any case, which has been recorded on the videotape.


Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

This is standard practice for the Russian military.

artmika said...

Azerbaijan: Army Hazing Scandal

via The Caucasian Knot -

IWPR has more details

Two video-clips posted on the Internet showing brutality in the ranks of the Azerbaijani army have fueled allegations that hazing is rife, despite unprecedented increases on spending on the military in recent years.

Azerbaijani prosecutors have made arrests and launched an enquiry into the incidents recorded on the clips, after initially denying that they were authentic.

In one of the videos, recorded on a mobile phone, a soldier who has completed most of his military service – still known in Azerbaijan by the Russian word “dembel” – forces five younger conscripts into a contest in which they are forced to beat each other in pairs.

The video shows how one soldier has lost his hearing because of a sharp blow and is clutching his ears with pain on his face, while another has a big bruise on his face. The dembel watches them, laughing. The soldiers’ clothing suggests that all this is happening in a military hospital or in the medical facility of a military unit.

An earlier clip posted on YouTube on October 4 shows two dembels savagely beating 20 or 25 new recruits lined up in front of their beds in a barracks. The clip caused outrage and angry reactions in the Azerbaijani press.

The security agencies and military prosecutors began to investigate the incident and it was revealed that the clip had been filmed in an interior ministry forces unit in the Hajigabul region. This was confirmed to IWPR by the interior ministry press office.

The press office said that the soldiers who were beaten up had been called up in July this year. Two sergeants, Vugar Agayev and Eldaniz Ragimov, who allegedly carried out the beatings have been arrested and are now in Baili prison in Baku. The commander of the unit, lieutenant-colonel Gamlet Gurbanov and his deputy responsible for education, Beiler Eminov, have been reprimanded and relieved of their posts.

The military prosecutor’s office has also opened a criminal case into the staged fights recorded on the other clip. It said one person had been arrested and an investigation was underway.

Before this scandal broke, the security structures had consistently denied that hazing was a problem in the Azerbaijani armed forces. When the first film appeared on the Internet, defence ministry spokesman Eldar Sabirogly said it was a fabrication and a “provocation”.

Yet independent research suggests that these kinds of incidents are actually on the rise. According to a study conducted by the military think-tank Doktrina in the first nine months of 2008, around 50 military servicemen died in Azerbaijan, with 35 of those deaths occurring off the battlefield. The centre says that the number of suicides and irregular deaths is greater than last year – and this at a time when the military budget has been increasing by more than 50 per cent a year and now stands at over one billion dollars. [...]