Youth activist expelled from university

April 16, 2009

Once I wrote an innocent piece for azadliqciragi.org, an Azeri-language version of Cato Institute’s Lamps of Liberty and I don’t know how, but my dean N.A. at university got aware of it (too old and conservative to surf in Internet). Later followed what my dean called "educational conversation" between us in order to persuade me to halt my "revolutionary" and "oppositional" activism in Internet, and there he told me "in a manner of father" that I should "cool down", otherwise I can possible be expelled from university. Curious enough, I asked him on what formal grounds it can happen – I have a perfect attendance record, excellent results, in good attitude toward teachers and no criminal behaviour – after a few seconds of thoughts, he replied that there can be a sabotage against me, for example, an alleged fight, which can result in my expulsion.

Here we are!

When I opened my mailbox today – to my surprise – I encountered an email from a friend, which alerts about what seems a similar-schemed expulsion. According to information disseminated by Dalga Youth Movement the head of its Southern Regional Office Parviz Azimov has been expelled on charges of participation in an alleged fight from Lankaran State University, where he was a senior student.

This is what Dalga Youth Movement forwarded through emails:

The head of the south regional office of Dalga Youth Movement Parviz Azimov has faced various prosecution and pressure by university authorities due to his articles and current acitivities. Finally, on February 27th he was expeled from Lankaran State University with false accusation. We would like to remind that, Parviz Azimov studies at the fourth grade at above-mentioned university and has not had any problems so far. University authorities, who could not find any evidences about his education, orginazed false sabotage against him. They accused him in alleged fight at the university and expeled him.

As Dalga Youth Movement we urgently request to stop this illegitimate act, to restore Parviz Azimov’s education at the university, and we want people who organized this sabotage against him apolagize. We state that we will use any possible means to restore justice and to defend Parviz Azimov’s rights. We call everybody to support us in our way of defending the law and human rights. We demand the related organs to fulfill their duties.

And here is the post by Eric, Parviz’s teacher at one journalism course. Reading it you once again understand what all this “fight” is about:

Parviz was one of my best students while I was in Azerbaijan. He was the only one of my students to actually produce articles about corruption in the nation’s education system. I had quite a few students who spoke about it – but naturally it was a very daunting subject to tackle. Many of my students were still studying at universities – so really digging into this subject could be dangerous for their academic careers.

As it was for Parviz.

When he first suggested writing about corruption at the university, I cautioned him about taking on the subject. To do it right would be difficult, and would certainly anger important people. Nonetheless, he was resolute – and for his final project he wrote both blog entries and a long newspaper article on the subject – an article that named names. I was more nervous than he about publishing the article.

I don’t think it was one article that caused the university to finally kick him out. Parviz is one of those students that is challenging or infuriating, depending on your perspective. Once he grabbed hold of an issue, he didn’t let go – the mark of really excellent journalist. This time, Parviz obviously infuriated enough people at the university to close that door to him.

He has great talent and energy – so I don’t worry about him finding some position that suits his interests. But to be honest, I do worry about his personal safety. Azerbaijan is a dangerous place for journalists who challenge the system. A number of journalists have been mysteriously assaulted and murdered in Azerbaijan in recent years. Currently, Uzbekistan is the only European or Central Asian country that has more journalists behind bars than Azerbaijan, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

And last not least, here is re-posting of Parviz’s newspaper article (in Azeri), about corruption in Lankaran State University, which is titled "Open bazaar in closed rooms". I suppose it is the article that Eric mentions.



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One response to “Youth activist expelled from university”

  1. Ali S. Novruzov says:

    P.S.: Last, not least, in order to get an impression of the university where Parviz was studying, you can have a look at this old photo reportage about Lankaran State University prepared by Dalga. Let me remind you that according to the official rating of Azerbaijani higher educational institutions published by the State Students Admission Commission, Lankaran State University ranks 16th.