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Monday, August 08, 2005


Bashirli admits accepting donation

From the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Beyond the welter of far-fetched mutual accusations in the media, however, Bashirli and his defenders have admitted to the accuracy of at least some of the content of the videotape. Thus, they concede that Bashirli has accepted a $2,000 donation -- the receipt for which he is seen signing and heard confirming on the videotape -- and a promise for a further $20,000 donation later this month. By way of mitigating circumstances, they cite Bashirli's assertion -- on tape and again to the court -- that he would use the initial donation to buy technical equipment for Yeni Fikir and to cover expenses for his wedding party.

Kerimli told a news conference that the case is a provocation by the authorities "aiming to discredit Yeni Fikir, [out of] fear that the movement will grow in the run-up to the election." Bashirli "should be held responsible morally, not criminally. He makes incorrect and inappropriate statements that the United States is preparing a revolution in Azerbaijan … He wants to present himself as a more important figure [than he is] in order to impress his interlocutors. All this is of course regrettable and makes him responsible before his comrades-in-arms," Kerimli stated. He cautioned PFAP members to refrain from attending dubious meetings or drinking alcohol, and generally to control their emotions (ANS TV, Turan, August 5).

For his part, Gambarov told a news conference that the donation was part of a grant received via Georgian non-governmental groups. Bashirli was to have spent part on it on his wedding party planned for August 10 (ANS TV, August 6; Turan, August 6, 8). Yeni Fikir's vice-chairmen, Said Nuriev and Fikret Faramazoglu, while defending Bashirli, told their press conference that their leader was "drunk and bragging" (AFP, August 5). In fact, drink was a topic of discussion several times on the videotape -- an element seized on by the authorities to discredit an opponent in this Muslim nation.

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