Human rights activists and journalists demand transparency of courts

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On July 1, the public organization “Protection Line” organized a protest in front of the Judicial-Legal Council of the country.

Participants protested against not allowing human rights activists and journalists to attend open trials. Family members of the convicts also participted in the action.

“In recent months, the doors of courts have been practically closed to human rights activists and journalists. We are not allowed to attend meetings, referring to the decisions of the judges. Supporters of the accused are also not allowed to attend high-profile political processes,” said Zafar Ahmedov, co-founder of the Line of Defense.

According to him, human rights defenders and journalists have not been able to get into trials for serious crimes and appeals before. Now this vicious practice has spread to district courts, Ahmedov said. All this prevents human rights activists from monitoring the processes.

In turn, Rufat Safarov, executive director of the NGO “Protection line” , attributed these restrictions to the lack of independence of the courts. “Litigations on politically motivated cases have already been turned into a farce, now they are not allowed to attend meetings of human rights activists and journalists, civil society activists and political parties. Only lawyers and family members of the accused can enter the courts. This violates the principle of openness and transparency of the court. The reason is that judges are not independent and act on orders from the presidential administration,” Safarov said.

He criticized the heads of the courts of appeal and cassation and the chairman of the Judicial-Legal Council, Minister of Justice Fikret Mammadov, accusing them of turning the courts into their “patrimony”.

The parents of the defendants in the “Terter case” also took part in the action. “Those who did arbitrariness in this matter are still in their positions. Now a new investigation has been appointed, but none of the high-ranking officials has been punished. The courts turned a blind eye to arbitrariness. When we turned to the judges and said that our children were tortured, we were told that they should have been shot. These judges are still in office, the tormentors of our children also keep their posts, and our children are still in prison,” said one of the protesters.

Relatives of the defendants in the “Terter case” also protested against the arrest of lawyer Ilham Aslanoglu, who conducted a public investigation into the torture of the military.

In the end of the action  the participants announced  a resolution demanding to ensure the openness of trials and remove restrictions on the admission of journalists and human rights activists. During the action, the participants periodically chanted: “We want a fair, transparent, open trial!”  There was a poster with the slogan “Let journalists to the courts!”

The police did not intervene during the action, which ended without incident.


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