The week of 8-12 of November saw a new draft law on higher education, tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and doctors and staff of a Baku clinic convicted of receiving bribes from relatives of COVID-19 patients.
Higher education reforms
The Azerbaijani National Assembly presented a new law on higher education.
The project aims to ensure a transition to a new level of higher education, taking into consideration the goals established in the “State Program for Increasing the International Competitiveness of the Higher Education System in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2019-2023” approved by President Ilham Aliyev.
The draft law has divided opinions among education specialists. On one hand, Nabatali Gulamoglu considers the law just “a collection of words”, as it was developed without the participation of those who work on a daily basis in education. On the other hand, Kamran Asadov believes that the new law will increase the competitiveness of higher education in Azerbaijan, as well as incentivize international cooperation in the field.
Provocations between Azerbaijan and Armenia
This year, 10 November marked the one-year anniversary of the end of the 44-day-long war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Azerbaijan celebrated its first “Victory Day” holiday on 8 November, holding a big parade through the streets of Baku.
Meanwhile, tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia continue to simmer.
In Shusha, there was supposedly breach of the ceasefire agreement with a fatality for the Armenian side, while in Lachin, an allegation that Armenian militaries were besieged brought attention to the region. Both countries exchanged accusations about the veracity of these events.
Director of Baku clinic and four others sentenced to 43 years in prison
Former director of the New Clinic in Baku, Parviz Abbasov, and four other doctors and staff were sentenced to a total of 43 years in prison on charges of accepting bribes from relatives of COVID-19 patients for better placement and treatment in the clinic.
They were caught on video receiving money from an unknown person, together with a notebook with names. According to the defense, the funds were supposed to be used to pay salaries and the clinic’s expenses.
Abbasov’s lawyers said the accusation of bribery is false. He testified in the Baku Court of Grave Crimes, pleading his innocence.