by David Stepanyan
Having proclaimed me Mata Hari, the authorities of Azerbaijan are striving to put the lid on the people's diplomacy, director of the "Region" research centre, Laura Bagdasaryan, told Arminfo correspondent when commenting on her "implication" in the arrest of the known Azerbaijani journalist and political analyst, Rauf Mirkadyrov, who was arrested at the Baku airport after deportation from Turkey. Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office blames the journalist for cooperation with intelligence agencies of Armenia since 2008. According to the accusation, many times Mirkadyrov was meeting representatives of intelligence agencies of Armenia and executing their orders, was giving them "National Security information, photos and schemes, with a help of which hostile activity was implemented at the territory of Azerbaijan". He was detained for three months. The accusation was brought against him by the 274th clause of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code -betrayal of Motherland, which supposes imprisonment for 10-15 years or the life imprisonment.
"Since 2005 we have been cooperating with the Baku Peace and Democracy Institute on the permanent basis in the NGO format within the frames of various projects. I think that everybody in Armenia and Azerbaijan know very well what we have been dealing with over all these years, as our activity has always been open. We were always trying to find general edges between the societies of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. For this reason, I am absolutely surprised with the fact that my name is mentioned in the serious accusation in the betrayal of Motherland", - director of the "Region" said.
She emphasized that if Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry was aware of the "the joint espionage activities of Mirkadyrov with Armenians in 2008-2009", why did Baku start investigating this activity in 2014? She thinks that an answer to this interesting question will open the secret motivation of the case fabricated against Mirkadyrov. She especially emphasized that today rather interesting discussions about the true reasons of the journalist's arrest are taking place in Azerbaijan. The key option of these discussions is that simply Mirkadyrov was persona non grata for the authorities which he was always criticizing.
"Rauf was one of the authors of our project. He was taking part in the Internet-conferences at our website publicdialogues.info.I am afraid that from now on our peace making activity will be dropped, as our partners and newsmakers in Azerbaijan will scare cooperating with me - the person "working for the Armenian intelligence agencies", - Bagdasaryan concluded.