The self-immolation of a Karabakh war veteran rattles Azerbaijan. The man who set fire to himself dies and is buried triggering street protests and on-line outrage
29 December 2013

A 42-year-old Azerbaijani man who lit himself on fire in front of a government building in Baku on Christmas Day to protest perceived injustice at the hands of a senior pro-government official was buried to day after succumbing to injuries from his act of self-immolation triggering outrage on social media sites and some street protests.

Radio Liberty reports that dozens of youth activists tried to hold a protest in downtown Baku after a funeral for Hasanov, who was a veteran of the country's Nagorno-Karabakh war with Armenia in the early 1990s. They shouted slogans like "Stop killing our veterans!" and "Don't turn the army into a morgue!" Police quickly moved to disperse them, detaining some. Azerbaijan's pro opposition Meidan TV said many of those arrested were also war veterans

Hasanov's relatives told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that his small restaurant was demolished in 1995 on orders from Sattar Mehbaliyev, a ruling-party lawmaker who also chairs the pro-government Confederation of Trade Unions. Hasanov had battled for nearly two decades to receive compensation and to rebuild his restaurant.

An adviser to President Ilham Aliyev said the president was "disturbed" at the incident. with

photo: The funeral of Zaur Hasanov on 29 December 2013.