Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy urges US officials not to any lend legitimacy to Azerbaijan's fraudulent, un-free and unfair 2013 presidential elections
Washington, D.C. -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/17/2013 -- Presidential elections in Azerbaijan, held on October 9, 2013, were marred by the pre-election crackdown on dissent, lack of fundamental freedoms, absence of fair conditions and extensive vote fraud. The US State Department, as well as the official observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other credible monitoring organizations, concluded that these elections fell well short of international standards for free and fair polls. Once again, the Azerbaijani people were deprived of the right to choose their own government.
Therefore, Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy finds the continued Presidency of Ilham Aliyev’s to be lacking any electoral legitimacy.
The Azerbaijani government’s angry response to the international criticism of its flawed elections, by calling it “a sign of disrespect to Azerbaijani citizens”, is unfounded. The real sign of disrespect to the Azerbaijani citizens and an insult to basic norms of integrity would be an acceptance of these fraudulent, unfair and unfree polls as a legitimate expression of people’s will.
We regret that some elected US officials have just done so by congratulating Ilham Aliyev with “election victory”. Local Azerbaijani news agencies reported about Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, US Senator Roger Wicker, and US Representatives Bill Shuster, Steven Cohen, Michelle Grisham, Gene Green, Leonard Lance, Henry Cuellar sending such congratulations.
We would like to remind that Azerbaijan, under the Aliyev regime, has one of the world’s worst records on democracy, human rights and corruption, according to leading international organizations. Mr. Aliyev was recently recognized as the world’s most corrupt person by the global watchdog Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He and his family members are implicated in high-level corruption scandals, based on documented reports in international media.
It is understandable when the US government occasionally has to deal with the world’s worst regimes on various issues. However, there is simply no justification for congratulating a corrupt foreign despot with defrauding his own people.
By doing so, these officials have betrayed the founding democratic values of America and the trust of their own voters. This is done at the time when the US is exerting enormous efforts to win the hearts and minds of people in troubled corners of the globe. America’s moral authority as the world’s top champion for freedom is being challenged by our adversaries. It is unfortunate that some State Governors and members of the US Congress chose the special interests of Aliyev regime’s lobbyists over the national interests of the United States.
We urge all American officials to abstain from giving any legitimacy to the clearly falsified elections held under unacceptable conditions.
Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy
October 14, 2013
Washington, DC, United States of America
About Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy
Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy (AZAD) is a non-profit public US organization that promotes support for democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan.