Human rights defenders pay attention to violations of fundamental freedoms

The Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners has published another report on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan for the period from March to August 2021.

The authors state the continuing facts of violation of political freedoms, the crackdown by the police of peaceful protests of citizens, the persecution of activists and believers.

In particular, it is pointed to the harsh crackdown on the actions of feminists on March 8 and August 4, as well as animal rights activists on July 8.

It also talks about the facts of violation of freedom of expression. Thus, on March 3,  the Sheki Court of Appeal sentenced activist and journalist Elchin Hasanzade and blogger and Ibrahim Turkoy to 8 months in prison on charges of libel and insult. The reason was the complaint of Shahriyar Mustafayev, head of the Mingachevir City Department for Housing Maintenance.

The Monitoring Center is convinced that the real reason for the arrest is the facts of corruption of local officials and violations of the law revealed by the activists. In addition, journalist Jamil Mammadli was brought to trial for criticizing the head of the Guba region’s executive power.

The report mentions the facts of torture in the security forces. Thus, a veteran of the Karabakh war, Ilkin Hasanpur, complained about the beating in the Dashkesan police.

A video of another veteran of the Karabakh War, Elvin Badalov, was beaten by police officers on social media.

Another veteran Kenan Ashurov was beaten in the Agstafa police office.

The report also points to the criminal prosecution of believers and oppositionists. Thus, during the reporting period, activists of the Movement of Muslim Unity were arrested on drug-related charges: Vugar Hajiyev and Razi Humbatov, Musavat member Nizami Suleymanov.

On August 19, the day religious mourning Ashura, the activities of believers at the mosques were prohibited. At least five people were arrested for taking part in these events for 15-20 days.

On August 16, the trial on the “Ganja case” ended, “the investigation and trial of which were held with open violations of the procedural code.” “All the detainees were tortured; the protests of the lawyers were rejected. The main defendant, Yunis Safarov, said that he had made an attempt on the life of the head of Ganja, Elmar Veliyev, because he insulted local residents. The guilt of the rest of those arrested was not proven. However, the court sentenced them to terms ranging from 18 to 20 years in prison. Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment,” said Elshan Hasanov, head of the Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners.

The human rights defenders state the continuation of the practice of violation of fundamental freedoms, suppression of peaceful assemblies, the issuance of ordered decisions by the courts to critics of the authorities, the use of torture in places of detention, violations of the presumption of innocence, ignorance by officials of the rights and interests of citizens.

* The Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners was established in October 2014 by a group of former “prisoners of conscience” led by Elshan Hasanov.

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