Europe

The Eurovision spirit, Azerbaijani style

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports:

Rovshan Nasirli, a young Eurovision [Song Contest] fan living in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, says he was summoned this week to the country’s National Security Ministry — to explain why he had voted for Armenia during this year’s competition in May.

“They wanted an explanation for why I voted for Armenia. They said it was a matter of national security,” Nasirli said. “They were trying to put psychological pressure on me, saying things like, ‘You have no sense of ethnic pride. How come you voted for Armenia?’ They made me write out an explanation, and then they let me go.”

A total of 43 Azeris voted for the Armenian duo Inga and Anush, and their song, “Jan-Jan.”

Nasirli, like others, used his mobile phone to send a text message expressing his preference, little imagining his vote would eventually result in a summons from national security officials. (By contrast, 1,065 Armenians voted for the Azerbaijani team, apparently without consequence.)

Azerbaijan and Armenia remain locked in a protracted dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic-Armenian enclave located within Azerbaijani territory. Relations between the two countries are poor, even as they appear to be nearing a breakthrough on Karabakh.

Here’s Freedom House’s summary of the state of political rights and civil liberties in Azerbaijan.

(Via The Daily Dish)

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