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Azeri 'eco-activists' couldn't reach Lachin corridor without authorities' permission: Tatoyan Foundation

Azerbaijani “eco-activists” could not reach the Lachin corridor without special permission from the country’s authorities, studies by the Tatoyan Foundation have revealed.

“As a result of the 44-day war, the entry and exit of citizens to the territories that fell under Azerbaijan’s control is regulated by the Azerbaijani legislation, therefore the movement of the "activists" who illegally blocked the only road connecting Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) to Armenia could not be without the permission of the Azerbaijani authorities. This is evidenced by the Center for Law and Justice Tatoyan Foundation studies, which revealed the decree of the Azerbaijani president signed on October 29, 2020,” the fund, led by Armenia’s former Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan, said in a statement on Friday.

Under Azerbaijani law, the country’s Interior Ministry grants permission for entry into the Azerbaijani-held territories of Artsakh based on a citizen's application.

Studies reveal that citizens can apply for a permission only within the framework of specific visits organized by the state and mainly those citizens (mostly state and cultural figures, journalists) who are informed in advance about being included in the given visit, the Tatoyan Foundation stressed.

“In other words, neither an official nor a citizen who is not a public figure can freely enter or freely move through the said areas at their discretion,” it said.

“Monitoring of the Azerbaijani press and social networks confirms that there is currently a practice of selectively issuing permits in Azerbaijan, and this policy has caused dissatisfaction inside Azerbaijan itself. According to media and social networks, many citizens of Azerbaijan complain that only participants of state organized events can receive permission, and for private visits, access is allowed only to close-to-government circles.

“For example, in February 2021, 6 residents of the Aghjabad region of the Republic of Azerbaijan went to Fizuli and Hadrut, after which they were stopped by the police. As the Azerbaijani section of BBC News notes, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs informed them that studies are being conducted or an investigation is being conducted to give a legal assessment of the actions of these people.

“This reaffirms that those blocking the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the outside world since December 12, 2022, who claim to be “eco-activists”, are actually Azerbaijani government agents, which is confirmed by credible evidence. These people are used as tools for the Azerbaijani authorities’ ethnic cleansing policies,” reads the statement.

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