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May 19, 2010

TORTURES WIDESPREAD IN AZERBAIJAN

 

To: Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

To: Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (СoE)

To: Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of CoE

To: Catherine Margaret Ashton,  High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), First-Vice-President of the European Commission

To: Heidi Hautala, Chairwoman Subcommittee on Human Rights of EP

Copy: Ambassador Bilge Cankorel, Head of the OSCE Office in Baku

Copy: Veronika Kotek, Special Representative of the Secretary General of CoE in Azerbaijan

Copy: Ambassador Roland Kobia, Head of Delegation of the EU to Azerbaijan

The right to life and the right to protection from tortures are fundamental rights of people, which are being trampled upon in Azerbaijan.

Concrete facts on application of torture followed up by the Institute of Peace and Democracy and other NGOs, and a list of names of citizens-torture victims over 2006-2009 testify the countrywide application of tortures in Azerbaijan. The number of these victims definitely exceeds the list of names, that human rights defenders were able to get.

2006: 40 people were tortured and 13 of them died (5 of them died in the Armed Forces (Defense Ministry); 3 in prison (Justice Ministry)).

2007: 74 people were tortured and 11 of them died (5 of them died in the Armed Forces (DM); 2 in prison (JM)). One of the in-prison died is political prisoner Faina Kungurova, who died a month after her arrest (during the so-called “investigation period”) in November 2007 in a prison hospital.

2008: 84 people were tortured and 3 of them died.

2009: 136 people were tortured and 7 of them died. In August political prisoner Novruzali Mammedov died in a prison hospital (JM).

It should be mentioned that among the torture victims was Leyla Sabirgizi Mammedova, an accidental passer-by, who was raped on January 05 by a group of drunken police officers with Yasamal District of Baku. There are recorded facts of torture against Hajaf Novruzoglu Suleymanov and Nadir Shirkhanoglu Aliyev arrested in connection with the terror act on April 30 in the Oil Academy. The investigation agencies apparently wrested an admission of guilt through tortures. To what extent can such an investigation and its results be reliable?

As was stated above, the number of torture victims in Azerbaijan these years is in large excess over the figures, concrete facts followed-up by human rights defenders and brought here. But even this list points to the acuteness of the problem.

Though the great majority of torture and torture-related deaths falls on police stations (Internal Ministry), it is noteworthy that citizens are being tortured and beaten to death also during the investigation period (Prosecutor’s Office and National Security Ministry), and in penal institutions (Justice Ministry). Tortures are also widespread in the Armed Forces (Defence Ministry).

One of the causes for the wide application of tortures lies in total impunity and even encouragement of law enforcement officers using torture.

The dramatic example is Colonel Vilayat Eyvazov, then Head of Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Internal Ministry and personally responsible for torture of tens of detainees following the October 2003 presidential elections. In 2004 Eyvazov advanced in the rank of Major General and was appointed First Deputy Internal Minister. Back when working in Baku City Police Department Police Colonel Mammed Mikailov himself tortured those under investigation; currently he is Head of Police Department of Nasimi District of Baku city.  Detained on April 30 of this year students were beaten in the room of M. Mikailov. Isa Najafov, then Deputy Prosecutor-General, himself participated in tortures; now he is Judge with the Constitutional Court.

In January 2001 Azerbaijan became a CoE member. One of the obligations undertaken by Azerbaijan when entering the CoE wasto prosecute all representatives of law enforcement agencies violating human rights (especially prohibition on torture) when on duty”. 10 years have passed and NO-ONE in the law enforcement agencies has been brought to trial for torture widely spread as comes from the figures.

Ministers Ramil Usubov (Internal Ministry), Eldar Mahmudov (National Security Ministry), Fikret Mammedov (Justice Ministry), Safar Abiyev (Defence Ministry) and Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov must be held liable for tortures in their institutions.

There are three judgments by The European Court of Human Rights ascertaining the facts of torture and inhuman treatment in the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan and inefficient processing of complaints on these facts by courts of Azerbaijan Republic. None of these three judgments by the European Court led to prosecution of law enforcement officials who used torture.

Our recommendations:

1) Give more priority to the problem of torture. Demand that the Government of Azerbaijan ensure unimpeded access for representatives of the civil sector, the media to penal institutions, preliminary detention institutions, police stations, military units.

2) Establish an independent (!) institute of forensic medical examination free for torture victims and their relatives to get qualified certification of cause of death or after-effects of tortures.

3) Include the mentioned names of officials responsible for usage of torture in their institutions in all documents of the OSCE, CoE and EU on human rights in AR.

4) Hold a special PACE session to discuss Azerbaijans fulfillment of its commitmentto prosecute all representatives of law enforcement agencies violating human rights (especially prohibition on torture) when on duty”.

5) Hold an OSCE PA session to discuss the problem of torture application in Azerbaijan.

6) Given the urgency of the situation, address the problem concerned through a special line of cooperation within the EU Eastern Partnership Project.

The appeal is signed by representatives of civil society institutes of Azerbaijan:

1. Leyla Yunus, Institute of Peace and Democracy,

2. Elchin  Abdullayev,  Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Public Union

3. Matanat Azizova, Women’s Crisis Centre

4. Ismail Veliyev, “Ganjabasar” newspaper

5. Elchin Mammad, Social Union of Legal Education of Sumgait Youth

6. Hafiz Safihanov, Azerbaijan’s Organization to Band Landmines

7. Zahir Amanov, “Janub Heberleri” newspaper,

8. Alovsat Aliyev, Azerbaijan Migration Centre

9. Ilgar Gasimov, ”Legal Aid” (Lenkoran city)

10. Mehman Aliyev, “Turan” News Agency

11. Anar Mammedli, Election Monitoring and Democratic Studies Centre

12. Rahile Mammedli, “Khatun” Public Association for Assistance in Women’s Social Problems

13. Rasim Hasanov, “Muasir Dunya” Public Association for Economic Awareness

14. Niyazi Mehdi, Alliance of Women for Civil Society

15. Mirvari Gahramanli, Protection of Oil Workers’ Rights

16. Elchin Behbudov, Azerbaijan Committee Against Torture

17. Hikmet Hajizade, FAR Center

18. Intigam Aliyev, Legal Education Society

19. Leyla Aliyeva, Center for National and International Studies

20. Hilal Mammedov, “Tolishi Sado” newspaper

21. Emin Huseynov, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Society

22. Annagi Hacibeyli, Azerbaijan Lawyers  Association,

23. Ilyas Safarli,”Uluchay” Social-Economic Innovation Center (Sheki)

24. Rashid Hadjyly, Media Rights Institute

25. Sabina Alekperova, “Young Leaders” Education Training and Development Public Union, (Ganja)

26. Mustafa Hajibeyli, Newspaper “Demokrat”

27. Alekber Mammedov, Center for Democratic and Civil Control of the Military

28. Shakir Agaev, Newspaper “Novoye Vremya”

29. Zohrab Ismayilov, Public Association for Assistance to Free Economy

30. Uzeir Djafarov, "Military reporters"

31. Dilara Efendieva, Association for the Protection of Women s Rights in Azerbaijan after D. Aliyeva  

32.Arastun Orujlu , "East-West" Research Center

 


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