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Saturday, August 13, 2005


Text of Yeni Fikir TV interview

Azerbaijan television recently broadcast an interview with Ruslan Bashirli and his deputy, Osman Alimuradov, who denounced him to police. Today.Az carries the text of the broadcast. Some excerpts:

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: We were invited to attend the conference titled “Democracy without Borders.” However, no conference took place. There were no German representatives, nor people from abroad. There were Georgian Merabi and Armenians only.

INVESTIGATOR: I’d like to show you an article in “Azadlyg” of 2 August 2005 titled “Ruslan Bashirly held important meetings in Georgia.” The article said that chairman of “Yeni fikir” had allegedly spoken at the regional conference in Georgia, touching upon democratization problems in Azerbaijan. If there had not been any conference at all, what goal did you pursue when published such an article?

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: I went to Georgia to take part in the event. So it was natural for me to return home saying that the conference did take place and I took part in its work.

INVESTIGATOR: You should not have told lies. Why did you misinform mass media as saying that you attended the conference, spoke there and even met with senior officials?

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: There was no conference. A month ago, our movement went on hunger strike due to the dismissal of Namik Feyziyev from the institute. International organizations showed interest in this action. A certain Merabi Jibutia came from Georgia. He visited participants of the strike as saying that he was a leader of a Georgian NGO. He insisted that he was a member of Saakashvili’s team. He promised to organize our trip to Georgia and help us.

INVESTIGATOR: Where did you meet with him?

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: At a tea-house near Nizami cinema theater.

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: We introduced him to chairman of the PPFA Ali Kerimly, and Merabi had a 50-60 minutes talks with him.

INVESTIGATOR: Have you maintained contacts with Merabi?

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: Yes, he E-mailed me twice and phoned.

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: After his departure he phoned Ruslan and spoke to him. It was me or Said who interpreted the conversation, since Ruslan is not proficient in Russian.

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: Merabi asked me to give him my passport for allegedly for registration. I declined from giving my passport to him as saying that I was going to return to Baku this evening. No meeting took place.

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: Then Merabi came to the hotel and asked us to give him our passports allegedly for legalization of a grant. He took our passports and said he would return in several hours. He returned but without our passports. He explained the delay that there were no officials to register us, so I’ll give them back to you tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. However, I insisted that we need passports now. Merabi said something in Georgian to his driver; he went away and returned in 20-30 minutes with our passports.

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: Merabi suggested us to go and see his office. We agreed.

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: On 29 July at 12-13 p.m. Merabi’s driver and the bodyguard arrived as saying that Merabi had a meeting at the Presidential apparatus. In 30-40 minutes Merabi came together with a tall, stout man. In Merabi’s words, this was a businessman. Finally, we went to the office.

INVESTIGATOR: What was his name?

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: George. Then we went to the office.

RUSLAN BASHIRLY: Merabi said I’d like to do you a friendly service. I know that your wedding is approaching. So I’d like to help with your wedding, on the one had, and develop democracy in your country, on the other hand. I said nothing. When we entered the room, George took money out of his pocket and gave it to Osman as saying they are designed for democracy development. Osman gave money to me.

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: He gave $2,000 to Ruslan and demanded a receipt from him. Ruslan signed the receipt, which said that $2,000 had been given to the youth movement “Yeni fakir.”

INVESTIGATOR: What else did they say?

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: George added that in 12-15 days I will give another $20,000 or more. Your organization, he stressed, will be receiving $2,000 monthly. If necessary, we can provide you with weapons and ammunition arrange provocations, violate cease-fire regime in Nagorno Karabakh. Also, the Armenian party may arrange a mutiny against Aliyev’s regime. We are in position to do all that. We want you to come to power and create all necessary conditions for us to do business in oil area. Ruslan Bashirly promised him to comply with all his requests. Also, Bashirly added he would inform Kerimly about these $2,000, as well as about $20,000 to be received later. I’ll invite you to Baku and introduce you to him.

INVESTIGATOR: What mutiny or revolution did they hint at?

OSMAN ALIMURADOV: The point was about the Parliamentary elections. Ruslan said that the elections would be held on 6 November and on 7-8 November we would come to power i.e., the “orange revolution.”

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