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Azerbaijan: STATEMENT BY INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND DEMOCRACY
[02.03.2010]
March 01, 2010

STATEMENT BY INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND DEMOCRACY

On Feb 16, 2010 Yasamal District Court chaired by Tahir Ismaylov, acting in accordance with Article 221, Item 3 (hooliganism), Article 315, Item 2 (resistance to authority) of the AR Criminal Code, ruled to bring a prosecution and a preventive measure of a two-month-pretrial detention for five citizens of Azerbaijan – Elmar Ramiz oglu Samedov (1959-born), Elchin Rafig oglu Abbasov  (1986-born), Bilal Heydar oglu Ahmedov (1984-born), Seymur Shaban oglu Huseynov (1985-born), Agali Eldar oglu Yahyayev (1983-born).

The above citizens were detained on Feb 13, 2010 as the police dispersed a peaceful procession of a group of people (60-70) marching towards the Alley of Martyrs to honor memory of Prophet Mohammed on the day of his death. The people were marching along the foot walk neither disturbing the public peace nor impeding the traffic flow.  Despite that, the police surrounded the procession and 20 minutes after (having been apparently ordered by the authorities) started severely beating them up with truncheons hitting their heads till blood, knocking out teeth and breaking noses. The beating up of the peaceful citizens came as a yet-again violation of the national law by the police (Article 46, AR Constitution; Article 5, Law on Police).

Police arbitrariness and violation when dispersing peaceful rallies of citizens became a practice in the country. They ruthlessly beat up those gathered in a café to honor revolutionary Che Guevara, those laying flowers at a memorial plate of Mammed-Emin Rasulzade, the founder of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920), election observers with the opposition, journalists and activists with the civil society. In fact, having debarred citizens from the right to assembly (the last sanctioned rally took place on Nov 26, 2005, which was also ruthlessly dispersed by the police with tens of citizens seriously injured), the country’s authorities stifle any independent initiative resorting to the police.

The violation of citizens’ rights passes on to the courts. For example, on February 16, 2010 based only on the police testimony Tahir Ismaylov, Judge with Yasamal District Court, launched criminal proceedings against the five afore-said citizens under Articles 221 and 315 of AR Criminal Code which stipulate an imprisonment for 3-7 years. The situation when judges and the entire judiciary are under the executive’s feet denudes citizens of any hope for justice. As a consequence, the number of political prisoners convicted in defiance of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (particularly, Article 6 thereof) is constantly mounting.

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