Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Azerbaijan

Baku Hotel Owners Questioned On Hidden Sex Camera Claims

Azerbaijan's elaborate preparations for this year's Eurovision have been undermined by several reports citing rights abuses.
Azerbaijan's elaborate preparations for this year's Eurovision have been undermined by several reports citing rights abuses.
By Ron Synovitz
No sex under any circumstances.

That's what one local rights group is advising visitors to Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, for the Eurovision Song Contest there next week.

The group, Azad Genclik Teskilati (Free Youth), claims "hidden cameras are installed on the premises of all...hotels without exception," and that footage made with the cameras "can later be used against tourists for blackmail."

The corporate headquarters of major international hotels in Baku have given assurances that they have policies in place to protect guests' privacy.

But the concerns arose after hidden cameras were used in some Azerbaijani hotels to make secret sex videos of opposition journalists and critics of Azerbaijan's government -- violating their right to privacy in an attempt to blackmail them and silence dissent.

In one case, a video of two opposition journalists engaged in sexual acts was later broadcast on a television channel owned by a cousin of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

Hotels' Response

Christopher Avery, the director of the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre -- which tracks the impact on human rights of 5,000 companies around the world -- told RFE/RL that it was incumbent on the hotels to show that they have taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"Concerns were raised that this was happening in hotels, and indeed, there is evidence that it did happen in hotels," he said.

"Now whether this is the hotels acting in complicity with the government, whether they were pressured by the government or by somebody else to allow the cameras to be planted, or whether this happened without the hotels' knowledge, we don't know.

"But the very fact that this has happened is something that the hotels have to carry some responsibility for."

Avery's group questioned the corporate offices of seven international hotels in Baku: the Excelsior, Hilton, Hyatt, Kempinski, Radisson, Ramada, and Sheraton.

All responded that they have corporate policies in place to ensure the rights of their guests are respected. Two directly addressed the hidden-camera concerns.

"I can tell you that it is not possible to install hidden cameras in our hotel rooms," the Excelsior's security chief replied. "Because we know how to fight against this kind of illegal activity. And I can ensure you that we have never faced this kind of problem in the past and I am sure we will not have this problem in future."

Inappropriate Conduct

The Hyatt hotel also insisted that it would be vigilant about guests' privacy concerns. "The hotels have confirmed that they are unaware of the kind of conduct described...occurring on their premises," the Hyatt's response read. "We will certainly be on alert for any such inappropriate conduct and will investigate any allegations brought to our attention."

The Ramada/Wyndham Group, whose hotels are owned by individuals with franchise rights to use the Ramada name, said any hotel owners who violated the rights of guests risked being stripped of their franchise rights.

Avery said his rights group will continue to monitor the situation and will contact the parent companies of any Baku hotels where complaints of hidden cameras persist in the wake of the Eurovision contest.

International human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have also raised concerns about other human rights abuses in Azerbaijan during the lead-up to the Eurovision competition.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: ilqar from: orucov
May 21, 2012 11:57
The victory of our country's musical culture, and the fund's active support of Heydar Aliyev Foundation with the support of Mrs. Aliyeva were obtained.

by: aqil from: zaman
May 22, 2012 07:49
Azerbaijan is No.1. I love my motherland Azerbaijan. Long live Azerbaijan

In Response

by: Arshin Mal Alan from: Persia
May 22, 2012 12:07
Dear Aki djan,so you were born at a petrol station and are very proud of it ,eh???This shows youre a true azeri with a real zor zaman.Now wait to see what happens when ilham does his belly dance at the closing ceremony -it will be another world beater for persia,pardon,azerbaybaydjan!!!

by: aynure from: bashirova
May 22, 2012 09:29
WE GOT HIGH POINTS FROM ALL OVER THE EUROPE! THIS IS PURE VICTORY! WE LOVE YOU EUROPE! YOU ARE WELCOME TO AZERBAIJAN
In Response

by: Arshin Mal Alan from: Persia
May 22, 2012 12:02
Dear laynure from Ilham`s harem-you are not patriotic enough-Europe is not welcome to Azeristan-azerbaybaydjan is the heart of real European civilization the cradle of world culture and civilization and it should welcome the azeri kgbs as the front runners of world progress .All praise must go to present day`s Arshin Mal Alan-our gloriousAli Baba crazydent allahtan ilhan Gaylievich & 1st lady Merybanban and now we are going to win the Olympic games,too and shame on all envious armenians,shame shame shame on you all!!! Allah akbar!!! Ilham gayliev even more akbar!!!

by: Pavel from: Belarus
May 24, 2012 13:56
This is what you get when you agree to holding major international events in dictatorships. It's hilarious that hotel management is denying "such illegal activity in their hotels" - in dictatorships such activity is perfectly legal and is perpetrated by police officers.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Most Popular