ANSWERS FROM AZERBAIJAN’S GOVERNMENT DO NOT SATISFY MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURES

November 11th, 2009
Yesterday, 10 November, the delegation representing the Azerbaijani government responded to the questions raised by the Committee Members within the framework of 43rd session of the United Nations Committee against Torture.

In response to question regarding the notion of “discrimination” in the definition of torture in the Criminal Code, Chief Prosecutor’s Office Investigation Department Head Nazim Abbasov said that several proposals were sent to the Parliament (Milli Mejlis) to solve this issue and this issue will be solved soon.
Abdullayev stated that 161 people were held responsible under article 133 of the Criminal Code. However, Abdullayev did not give any information about the content of these torture cases, what punishment these people received, and the fate of people who were subjected to torture.
Deputy Justice Minister, Chief of Penitentiary Services Nazim Alakbarov responded to questions regarding the Penitentiary System and touched upon the activity of the Public Committee created under the Justice Ministry.
According to Nazim Alakbarov, Human Rights Defenders included in the Committee can visit Penitentiary Service’s Prisons any time without warning anybody. N.Alakbarov added that a warning should be made when Human Rights Defenders who are not included in the Committee visit the prisons. Alakbarov noted that Human Rights Defenders can visit the prisons, but not the detention centers. He said that investigations are carried out on people who are held in the detention centers, therefore human rights defenders are not allowed to visit.  
First Deputy Prosecutor-general Rustam Usubov responded to questions on specific cases. R.Usubov touched upon the issue of young bloggers and said that they had an argument in the restaurant, beat two people and therefore a criminal case was opened against them. According to him, the bloggers were provided with lawyers immediately that were of their own choosing, and these lawyers participated in all proceedings on their case.  Usubov did not respond to a question regarding medical assistance. When talking about the beating of IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov, R.Usubov said that E.Huseynov and other people participated in the event conducted regarding Che Guevara. They were asked to cease the event because it was an unsanctioned event. But they did not stop the event and the event participants were taken to the police department and were released after they were given a warning. R.Usubov said that E.Huseynov filed a lawsuit regarding his beating in the Police department. But a relevant examination and other cases proved that Huseynov was not beaten.
The Head of the Delegation Khalaf Khalafov said that all the right violations were investigated during the elections between 2003 and 2005 and guilty ones were brought to justice.
Questions regarding violence against Journalists and Human Rights Defenders since 2003 were not responded to. The Members of the Committee against Torture said that the questions were not responded completely and they demanded that the same questions should be responded to again.
The questions involving the responsibility of police and the employees of law-enforcement organs, activity of the Ombudsman regarding torture facts, monitoring rules by Human Rights Defenders remained unanswered. The Committee against Torture will prepare and publish recommendations on issues that were raised during the two weeks in order to eliminate these issues. The issue regarding the visit of the Members of the Committee against Tortures to Azerbaijan is on the agenda.
On 9 November, Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety (IRFS) representative Rasul Jafarov delivered a statement on the report that was prepared by Azerbaijani NGOs in conjunction with the Human Rights House Foundation and the South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders (Woman Rights Defense Association named after Dilare Aliyeva, the Democracy and Human Rights Public Union, the Law Enlightenment Society, the Institute for Peace and Democracy, the Women Crisis Centre, IRFS).
Delegation representing Azerbaijani government:
Khalaf Khalafov – Deputy of Foreign Affairs Minister
Elchin Amirbayov – Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Geneva UN
Rustam Usubov – First Deputy Procurator-general
Oruj Zalov – Deputy Internal Affairs Minister
Nazim Alakbarov – Deputy Justice Minister, Penitentiary Service Chief
Nazim Abbasov – Head of Prosecutor’s Office’s Chief Investigation Office
Sadagat Gahramanova – Deputy Chief of Family, Woman and Child Committee   
Ali Shafiyev – Deputy National Security Minister  
Elsever Agayev – Deputy Health Minister  
Murad Najafbayli – Foreign Affairs Ministry, Head of International Law and Contracts   Department
Ismayıl Asadov – First Secretary of FAM
Habib Mikayıllı – Third Secretary of Azerbaijani Permanent Representation in Geneva UN
Samira Safarova – Attaché  of Azerbaijan delegation in UNO