Rights group outraged at evictions in Azerbaijan on the heels of Eurovision 2012

According to a report released Friday by Human Rights Wach, Azerbaijani authorities have begun the eviction of the last building that stands on the site of a planned concert hall for the 2012 Eurovision contest.

The rights group criticized Azerbaijani officials for what it says are "forcible evictions," and "illegal appropriations."

The AFP reported that evictions of the remaining residents were being carried out before the apartment block is set to be demolished in order to make way for the ultra-modern Crystal hall, which will host the contest in May.

Residents of the building are not, however, fighting to stay, but rather fighting for a more just compensation.

Zadir Gulamirov, a retired army captain told Der Spiegel, "We just want the compensation the law entitles us to." His wife, Kadiya, said, "For the money they're offering, we can't find an apartment we can live in."

The Azerbaijan government has rebuffed allegations of property rights abuses and intimidation of residents who fight evictions. Officials say that the demolition work is not directly connected to the Eurovision contest but rather an addition to Baku's planned urban renewal, reports France 24.

Der Spiegel reports that the European Broadcasting Union, the organizer of the Eurovision contest, claims that it has no responsibility for the actions of Baku authorities and that the organization didn't ask anyone to build new venues or to demolish older buildings.

Azerbaijani singers Ell and Nikki won the Eurovision contest in Germany last May, allowing the country to host the event this year says AFP.

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