[:en]“We condemn the arrest, torture and other inhumane treatment citizens face for enjoying their right to peacefully assemble. We express our regret that the relevant bodies of UN, OSCE and Council of Europe remain silent regarding the violations of human rights mentioned above. We hope that the intervention of these organizations will result in the release of those who were arrested or in detention because of their participation in peaceful rallies and police officers who have taken part in violent and inhumane treatment of political activists and journalists will be held responsible for their actions..”
This is the part of the appeal of Azerbaijani civil society activists to the United Nation’s Committee against Torture and European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on politically motivated torture cases. According to Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center, more than 20 human rights defenders and public figures signed the appeal. Signatories note that they have been witnessing the increase of political persecution and pressure in the country in the last month by various authorities, including law enforcement bodies, against those who are peacefully expressing their alternative political views.
The document also mentions cases of violence and administrative arrests during 19 and 20 October rallies by National Council of Democratic Forces and Women.
“We declare that, currently, the situation of protection of human rights and freedoms is in crisis. We consider the intervention of international organizations important in order to bring an end to the use of merciless methods, including torture, against political activists and ensure the enjoyment of freedom of assembly. Therefore, we deem these following actions crucial to be taken;
1) The UN Committee Against Torture and European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment should launch fact-finding missions into abovementioned cases and visit Azerbaijan by the end of this year.
2) The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan should ensure that local human rights defenders and international organizations can monitor the detention facilities and prisons in transparent manner.
3) The statements of law-enforcement bodies of Azerbaijan should be closely examined to check the level of impunity for those officers who are mentioned in the complaints of victims of torture, including political activists.”
In turn, official Baku neglect such criticism and finds it biased. Authorities claim that all fundamental human rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, media, assembly and association are ensured. Officials say no one faces political persecution because of their political views. However, local human rights defenders note there are around 135 political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Amnesty International considers more than 10 people as “prisoner of conscience”. The Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe also deploys a rapporteur on “Reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan”
For the full text of the appeal click here[:]