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Eurovision spotlight promotes, exposes Azerbaijan

Author: Elman Mamedov, AFP, Published on: 27 May 2012

...[U]ntil the first chord was struck, the show risked being overshadowed by accusations that strongman President Ilham Aliyev runs an authoritarian regime that jails opponents, persecutes journalists and cracks down on public dissent...The party mood was soured when police in Baku detained dozens of opposition activists attempting to hold pre-Eurovision protests for democratic freedoms. But activists claimed a moral victory after resentments simmering behind the capital's grand facades attracted unprecedented worldwide media coverage...[Rasul] Jafarov [of campaign group Sing For Democracy]...said that Swedish winner Loreen, who infuriated officials by meeting rights activists before the contest, had demonstrated "how Europe appreciates the principles of human rights".

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