Human rights commissioner (Ombudswoman) of Azerbaijan, Elmira Suleymanova has met with the detained journalist Parviz Hashimli, who is held in the detention center of the Ministry of National Security. In a statement following the meeting, Suleymanova noted that Parviz Hashimli had no health complaints or complaints of detention conditions or food. She added that Hashimli had not staged a hunger strike and received the daily meals served. During the meeting Parviz Hashimli expressed his disagreement to the ombudswoman with the charges brought against him, asking to speed up the investigation, to let him meet his family, to talk to them on the phone, to be provided with newspapers that he wanted to read and to be transferred to Interior Ministry detention facility.
IRFS contacted the journalist’s lawyer Bahruz Bayramov, who met him on November 25, to get feedback regarding the ombudswoman’s statement. The lawyer told that when he met Parviz on 25 November, he was on the second day of hunger strike.
“In our meeting, I asked Parviz to stop hunger-striking, as his condition was bad and his family worried about him. On the same day chief officials of the detention center also met Parviz asking to stop the hunger strike and promising that he would meet the ombudswoman, but Parviz did not quit it,” said the lawyer.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov, who met Hashimli on 26 November, negated the claims that Hashimli was not hunger striking.
“While meeting the ombudswoman Hashimli still continued the hunger strike. They met yesterday, but Parviz gave up this morning after he had been assured by the ombudswoman that some of his demands would be met and after the doctor and we had urged him to quit as it severely harmed his health. Let’s see whether and how Parviz’s demands would be met. As for the Ombudswoman’s claim that conditions in this detention center are good, I advise her to come and stay here for two days to see how ‘good’ those conditions are” said Sadigov.
According to Sadigov, the latest court decision (the November 7th decision) in Hashimli’s case does not stipulate that the he should be held in the detention center of the Ministry of National Security, it was so only with the previous decision (the September 18th decision). “The claims that it is stipulated in the court decision are false and absurd. We can show the decision. Parviz is not allowed to meet his family or receive the newspapers he wants to read. His meetings with his lawyers are not confidential. There are cameras and bugs in the meeting room. The most horrible thing is that the lawyers are not allowed to enter the meeting room with papers, even if they are quite unrelated to the matter. Last time I was unlawfully held there for an hour and a half for refusing to hand my papers, but in the end I had no choice but to hand them in order to go in” Sadigov noted.
Background: Bizim Yol newspaper journalist and moderator.az editor-in-chief Parviz Hashimli was detained on September 17th by employees of the Ministry of National Security. On September 18 the journalist was handed down a two-month pretrial detention sentence by the Sabail District Court under two articles of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code: Article 206.3.2 (smuggling of firearms on preliminary arrangement by an organized group) and 228.2.1 (illegal obtaining, storing, carrying firearms and their spare parts on preliminary arrangement by an organized group). His detention term was extended for another three months on November 7.