Azerbaijan: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev

26/04/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev, Coordinator of the “Kura” Civil Society Headquarter[1] and member of the Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Azerbaijan.

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on April 8, 2012, Mr. Gulaliyev was arrested by local policemen while he was participating in a public meeting with local residents of Minbashy, a village in Sabirabad region, to discuss about the protests these residents had been staging to demand a fairer repartition of State financial aids. Mr. Gulaliyev was subsequently transported to the Qaraguney police station, and then to the Sabirabad regional police administration.

On April 19, 2012, after having almost served the totality of a 12-day administrative detention in Sabirabad regional police for having allegedly, according to local police, “sworn in a public place” (under Article 296 (minor hooliganism) of the Code of Administrative Offences), he was charged through a decision of the Prosecutor of Sabirabad with “active resistance to authorities’ legal orders” and “incitement to mass riots and to violence against citizens” (Article 220.2 of the Criminal Code), sanctionable with up to three years’ imprisonment.

On the same day, a two-months’ detention in remand was approved by the regional judge. Mr. Gulaliyev appealed this decision, but the Shirvan Court of Appeal rejected the appeal. As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev remained detained in the remand prison of Kurdakhany village, near Baku, and the date of trial has not yet been scheduled.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Gulaliyev had refused the lawyer selected by the authorities, and his request for another lawyer was rejected. As a result, he was sentenced to a two-months’ detention in remand without legal advice.

Moreover, Mr. Gulaliyev asserted that he was beaten during his detention by several police agents including Mr. Rauf Majidov, Deputy Chief of the Sabirabad district police department. On April 17, 2012, while in administrative detention, Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev referred these abuses through advocate Alaif Hasanov to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which officially stated that these first allegations of ill-treatment were “not confirmed”. In fact, no investigation has yet been carried out into these acts of ill-treatment against him.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment faced by Mr. Gulaliyev, as well as about the acts of ill-treatment against him, as they seem to only aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and more particularly his activities of monitoring and struggle against corruption as well as his fight for a strengthened social justice.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Azerbaijan, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev as well as of all human rights defenders in Azerbaijan;

ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities.

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial and administrative levels - against Mr. Gulaliyev and more generally against all human rights defenders in Azerbaijan;

iv. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned alleged acts of ill-treatment against Mr. Gulaliyev in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Azerbaijan.

Addresses:

· Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 19 Istiqlaliyyat St., Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 25, +994 412 92 28 68, E-mail: office@pa.gov.az, office@apparat.gov.az, root@lider.baku.az

· Prosecutor’s Office, 7 Nigar Rafibeyli St., Baku, Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 82, +994 12 492 26 63, E-mail: eldar_sultanov@prosecutor.gov.az

· Mr. Ramil Usubov, Minister of Home Affairs of the Azerbaijani Republic, Fax: + 994 12 492 45 90

· Mr. Fikrat F. Mammadov, Minister of Justice in Azerbaijan, Prospekt Stroitelej, 1 Baku, Azerbaijan, E-mail: mincus@azdata.net, contact@justice.gov.az; Tel (99412) 430 09 77, Fax + 99412 430 09 81

· Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations in Geneva, Route des Fayards 237, CH-1290 Versoix, Switzerland, E-mail: geneva@mission.mfa.gov.az Fax: +4122 901 18 44

· Azerbaijani Embassy in Brussels, Avenue Moliere, 464, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 345 26 60, Fax: +32 2 345 91 85

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Azerbaijan in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Azerbaijan.

***

Paris-Geneva, April 26, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] The “Kura” Civil Society Headquarter was established in May 2010 in order to provide civil assistance to populations affected by the 2010 floods in the area, and overcome their consequences.

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