Former vice-president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Goran Lindblad: “They blessed me for the war against Armenia.”
Goran Lindblad: “I did contract work only after my political career was over”.
Goran Lindblad: “I lobbied Azerbaijan’s interests only in the issue of the return of Karabakh”.
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Swedish newspaper: The European Azerbaijan Society hired Goran Lindblad for lobbying against Armenia
Swedish politician and former MP Goran Lindblad is a lobbyist in the organization “The European Azerbaijan Society” (TEAS), which has strong ties with the regime in Azerbaijan. The money received from the organization, he invests in his dental practice. This is reported by the Swedish national evening newspaper Expressen.
The publication notes that just a few weeks after the parliamentary elections in Sweden in 2010, when Lindblad left the parliament, The European Azerbaijan Society contacted him, and at the end of 2010/2011 he started working as a lobbyist at the organization’s office in Brussels.
“TEAS” has close ties with the tough dictatorial regime of Azerbaijan. Thus, the chairman of the organization Tale Heydarov is the son of the Azerbaijani minister, the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Kamaleddin Heydarov. According to the correspondence between American diplomats, which was published by Wikileaks website, the European Azerbaijan Society is an organization that speaks the language of the regime. “The society declares that it is an independent support group, but the organization’s program so much reflects the goals of the Azerbaijani government,” the US diplomat wrote to the US State Department.
Expressen writes that the Heydarov family belongs to the absolute political and economic elite of Azerbaijan, and operates a company that produces everything from juices to caviar. “We know that this is an extremely corrupt regime, ruled by the Aliyev clan, which owns enormous wealth, and only a few have access to these riches. The Heydarovs’ family is part of this elite,” said Elizabeth Lofgren, spokeswoman for the human rights organization “Amnesty International” in Sweden, noting that when working for TEAS, the lobbyist should remember that his actions can contribute to the violation of human rights.
In conversation with the journalists of the newspaper Expressen, Goran Lindblad stated that TEAS is an independent organization, although he acknowledged ties with the Azerbaijani regime. According to Lindblad, his task in the organization is to lobby the issue of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. The former deputy bluntly stated that now he is working against his longtime colleagues in the Council of Europe.
“Since I was a representative of the Parliament in the Council of Europe, I have many contacts, and so they hired me. I am lobbying for the MPs of European Parliament and Council of Europe, “Lindblad said.
“There is no justification for putting political opponents in jail or prohibiting peaceful discussions. But they blessed me for the war against Armenia, “added the Swedish politician, commenting on Azerbaijan’s approach to human rights.
The publication notes that Lynblad, however, refused to point out the amount paid to him by the European Azerbaijan Society, noting that he can not talk about it under contract, but added that he invests this money in his dental company.
Meanwhile, Goran Lindblad’s connections with “TEAS” are being severely criticized. Thus, the Swedish Minister for European Affairs Birgitta Ollson stated that Azerbaijan is a dictatorship in which dissident bloggers, independent journalists and activists of the LGBT community are harassed and arrested. Olson condemned the fact of relations between the former member of the Swedish parliament and the Azerbaijani regime.
“If Lindblad is working for the regime, this is a big problem, because it is against our fundamental values,” said Conservative Party leader Anna Kinberg Batra. Senator Walter Mutt also critisized Goran Lynblad calling his connection with the Azerbaijani regime “a disgusting and terrible” phenomenon. And the spokesman for the Swedish Left Party on Foreign Policy Hans Linde called the method of Lindblad’s work, to which the dictatorship pays, absolutely unacceptable.
Former deputy speaker of PACE Göran Lindblad: I work for Azerbaijan by order
Yesterday the former vice president of PACE Göran Lindblad acknowledged that he has lobbied the interests of Azerbaijan connected with the Karabakh conflict and had worked commissioned from Baku, Göran Lindblad told in an interview to “Radio Liberty”, reports the Azerbaijani portal “Haqqin.az.”
According to portal, Göran Lindblad is familiar with the political realities of Azerbaijan, as far as “for many years he had represented it at the Council of Europe and had lobbied the interests of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh issue.”
Göran Lindblad has told in particular: “After leaving the office in PACE I worked in Society Europe – Azerbaijan for 18 months and lobbied the interests of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh issue. This organization operates in London.”
Former vice president of PACE said that during the time while he was at an official position in the Assembly, he did not do anything by order, and learnt about the “caviar diplomacy” only after leaving his position: “I was doing a commissioned work only after the completion of my political career. I have never propagated Azerbaijan as the best place in the world. I lobbied the interests of Azerbaijan only in connection with issue of return of Karabakh. “
Göran Lindblad, who recently visited Baku, noted that Azerbaijan is an authoritarian state and the authorities should settle the Karabakh conflict and build democracy. “Azerbaijan is a problematic country. I can say that over the past two years, the human rights situation in Azerbaijan has deteriorated. Regime has become more repressive,” he said.
Referring to the issue of political prisoners Lindblad stated that he had advised Ilham Aliyev to release the political prisoners before the Azerbaijan’s chairmanship at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
According to him, one of the reasons why the authoritarian countries reject democracy is their natural wealth. Lindblad also called on the totalitarian countries to forget about their pasts as soon as possible. “All the former totalitarian countries should clear out everything in their history, as it did Germany once. At the same time, Russia and other CIS countries should be more careful, otherwise totalitarianism will return in its ugliest form,” he said.
Lindblad believes that Ilham Aliyev “would have won in the last election anyway”, but despite this, the Azerbaijani authorities take up the path of repressions against journalists and opposition. According to the former vice president of PACE, perhaps the Council of Europe has hastened to accept into their ranks such a country as Azerbaijan.
In June 2010 at a meeting of the PACE Monitoring Committee the Co-Rapporteur on Armenian issue was elected Göran Lindblad, known for his engaged anti-Armenian position. Back in February 2010 he introduced references to the project concerning Armenia, in which the participation of army in the events taken place on March 1, 2008 was qualified as “containing coup elements.” Lindblad also stated he believes that those arrested in the riots on March 1, 2008 were political prisoners, until he was proved the contrary. In this regard, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE David Harutyunyan stated: “I hear it for the first time that a man has a right to give negative ratings until proven the contrary. Such an example of political immaturity confirms our concerns about the impartiality of co-rapporteur Lindblad.”
In June 2010 site Panorama.am published a photograph of Goran Lindblad receiving the book “Armenian terror” from the Azerbaijani agitator. Back in early October 2009 PACE President Lluís Maria de Puig, appealed to the Azerbaijani delegation with the demand to stop the spread of xenophobic propaganda, however this picture is a clear indication of violation of this requirement. Besides, the fact that the PACE co-rapporteur on Armenian issue is provided with an anti-Armenian products make the Azerbaijani agitating propaganda reveal itself.
In May 2012 the Swedish national evening newspaper “Expressen” wrote that Goran Lindblad works as a lobbyist at an organization called “European Society of Azerbaijan» (TEAS), which has strong ties with the Azerbaijani regime. The money received from the organization, he puts into his dental practice. The publication notes that only a few weeks after the parliamentary elections in Sweden in 2010, when Lindblad left the parliament, the “European Society of Azerbaijan,” got in touch with him and at the end of 2010/2011, he began working as a lobbyist in the organization’s office in Brussels.
In conversation with journalists from the newspaper “Expressen” Goran Lindblad stated that his task in the organization was to conduct lobbying activities in the issues concerning the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Former deputy directly stated that he was now working against their old colleagues in the Council of Europe. “There is no justification for jailing the political opponents or prohibiting the peaceful discussions. But they have blessed me in the war against Armenia,” added the Swedish politician, commenting on Azerbaijan’s approach to human rights.
Goran Lindblad ties with “TEAS” are subjected to harsh criticism. Thus, the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ollson stated that Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, in which dissident bloggers and independent journalists are harassed and arrested. Ollson denounced the ties of former member of the Swedish parliament with the Azerbaijani regime.