by Charlie Crooijmans
Last Saturday (March 17) a demonstration was held in the suburbs of Baku. The protesters were represented by the youth organizations of the opposition (Azeri Report). The musician Jamal Ali was arrested for having insulted President Ilham Aliyev’s late mother at the demonstration. Insulting the “King clan” can be extremely dangerous according to his friend and singer-songwriter Cirttan. With the coming Eurovision Song Contest coming to Azerbaijan, it seems particularly sour that singer-songwriters are put behind bars.
Jamal Ali, a former rapper, makes punk rock in Azerbaijani. He frequently uses slang in his songs like in Redd ol (‘go away’) or Səddam Hüseyn (Saddam Hussein). Amnesty International reported that the bass player of Ali’s band, Natig Kamilov, and the event’s organizer Etibar Salmanli were also arrested. They are all held in custody and not allowed to have contact with family or lawyers (Amnesty International).