Over a week now, Azerbaijan’s village of Nardaran is under heavy control. The Special Forces unit of the riot police, guards all entrance points into the village.
On November 26, as a result of a special operation carried out 6 men died. Four were Nardaran residents; two were police officers carrying out the operation.
AzadliqRadiosu reports that the riot police are also guarding today, December 3 the entrance points to and from Nardaran between neighboring Mastaga, Azerbaijan’s other village. Only the residents with documents confirming their residencies in Nardaran are allowed in and out. Journalists are not permitted to enter.
Azerbaijan -- Ramil Usubov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, 15Jun2012
On December 2 Ramil Usubov, the minister of the interior said, “32 people are arrested while five were killed during the operation. While the Head Prosecutor office is carrying out the investigation the ministry of interior forces is keeping the situation under full control”.
Taleh Bagirzade, recently released cleric and the leader of the “Muslim Union”, is among arrested men. The court in Baku sentenced him to four months in prison.
Arrested men are investigated under the charges of premeditated murder, terrorism, mass unrest, illegal arms possession, actions causing public unrest, forceful seizing of state power, resistance to the state representatives and so on. Usubov, describing the operation in Nardaran, said the “Muslim Union” was an “armed group” whose aim was to “come to power in Azerbaijan unconstitutionally, running a sharia based state”.
Usubov also said the decision to carry out the operation in Nardaran was done on president’s orders.
In the meantime the village still is cut off electricity. According to AzadliqRadiosu correspondents on the ground all religious posters are cleared out while all religious flags replaced with Azerbaijan state’s flags. Some report that the religious words and quotes written on the walls across the village are painted over.
On December 2, the residents were also prevented from commemorating the 40th day of Imam Huseyn’s death, which is a service the Nardaran residents have every year on this day.
Not all detained men are from Nardaran. On November 30, following another operation carried out in Azerbaijan’s town of Ganja, 6 men were arrested. According to the local news site APA, an automated machine gun, riffle, 12 grenades, significant amount of ammunition and religious literature was confiscated during the arrest of these men.
Some of the residents are said to be moving in with their relatives living in other neighboring villages and towns. As one resident spoke to AzadliqRadiosu, “It is unbearable here. Because there is no electricity we have no heating at home and it is very cold. Cooking food is a struggle and we are barely managing by using gas containers. We cannot watch TV, there is no Internet, and we are completely cut off the world. The whole village is suffering because of some 5-6men”.