June 7th, 2010
The Ministry of Internal Affairs responded to the information inquiry of the Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety.

During the last several months, police in official and plain clothes participated in preventing the protest actions from taking place. These people assisted in detaining and arresting action participants, hindering the work of journalists and using physical pressure against them. They always deny that they are police, and claim that they are regular citizens.

Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Service Department Chief Ehsan Zahidov said in his interview that it is illegal for police to participate in the mass actions in plain clothes to preserve law and order during mass actions, and no plain clothed people were ever used officially.

However, Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Service Chief, Sadig Gozelov, said that it is legal to involve plain clothed police employees to prevent mass actions.

IRFS sent an information inquiry to Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Service Chief Sadig Gozelov and requested information about the identity of plain clothed people who prevent the actions along with police, and steps taken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to identify these people. The response letter signed by Press Service Chief Sadig Gozelov reads, “According to item 8 of article 12 of the Law “On freedom of assembly” of Azerbaijan Republic, it is the duty of the government to provide security during rallies. The rights of police organs regarding the conduction of rallies were ratified in the article 14 of the same law.

During mass actions, the plain clothed employees of operational structures are involved in similar events so people who want create provocation against action participants do not join mass actions, rallies do not bring unwanted outcomes, and rallies are not turned into mass disturbances.”