The nomination comes from a Göteborg, Sweden-based group that is not quick to respond to questions. What is known about the group – a certain Swedish Peace Agency (SPA) – is that it is a self-described international organization launched in 2010 to further world peace. The president is 40-year-old Rezha Aghapoor, who was born in “Iranian Azerbaijan,” Iran’s northern province dominated by ethnic Azeris.
SPA did not respond to questions about its sponsorship sources. The organization does not appear to be listed in Sweden’s roster of charities and does not have a working website in Swedish.
Its reasons for nominating Mehriban Aliyeva for the organization’s peace prize are not clear. “Individuals or governmental institutions active in defence of human rights can be nominated for the Prize,” according to the agency's nomination submission rules.
Also in the running is American writer and rights-activist Alice Walker.
She sits in parliament and faces a reelection vote on November 1.
Reporting from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and other media outlets shows, however, that Mehriban Aliyeva also holds ownership in a string of offshore companies, a fact named in investigations into alleged graft by the First Family of energy-rich Azerbaijan, a country regularly slammed for its human-rights record. She has not responded to the allegations of financial wrongdoing.
In 2012, these investigations prompted the OCCRP to name her husband, President Ilham Aliyev, the most corrupt person of the year .*
Exploration of that topic or criticism of the regime already has landed multiple Azerbaijani journalists and rights-activists in jail.
Against that backdrop, Aliyeva’s peace-prize nomination has prompted suspicions from some Azerbaijan observers.