2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


Azerbaijan

146. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, advised the Government that he had received follow-up information on Ilgar Javadov (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, para. 84), who had reportedly died following his detention at police station No. 9 in Baku's Sabail district on 13 May 2001. On 26 February 2002, one day after the victimís family had openly protested the lack of an impartial investigation, the investigator of Sabail district reportedly informed the lawyer that the criminal case against three police officers had been closed for lack of evidence. However, the criminal case against a fourth police officer allegedly remained open. On 2 March 2002, the case was referred to Sabail district court. Following a complaint by Ilgar Javadov's wife, challenging the impartiality of the court, the case file was reportedly referred to the Supreme Court on 2 April 2002. The police officer was said not to be in custody, but reportedly had to sign an undertaking not to leave Baku.

147. By letter dated 13 November 2002, the Government responded that he had resisted his arrest when asked to present his identity documents. He was eventually taken to the ninth precinct, where he asked to use the lavatory in the station yard. A while later, his body was found by a police officer in the yard. The Government confirmed that the Procuratorís Office for the Sabail District of Baku had initiated criminal proceedings on 13 May and indicated that three police officers were detained as suspects on 15 May for abuse of authority, i.e., an illegal arrest. A thorough investigation could not prove whether he had been deliberately killed or whether he had slipped while attempting to escape by climbing one of the walls. On 25 May 2001, the Sabail district court determined that the three officers concerned should be placed under house arrest as they presented good guarantees to be present during the investigation into the death of Ilgar Javadov. The Government indicated that the case was still under investigation at the time of writing.

Urgent appeals

148. On 10 June 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on behalf of inhabitants of Nardaran settlement who had reportedly been approaching authorities with repeated requests for settlement of social and economic problems and replacement of local authorities in Nardaran since January 2002. Eight elders were reportedly arrested at the Prosecutorís Office on 3 June and accused of terrorist activities. On the same day, policemen and officers of internal troop, apparently led by the vice-chief of Baku City Police, and equipped with truncheons and arms reportedly cordoned off the village area. Inhabitants of Nardaran crowded on the square and moved towards the mosque for the evening prayer. Policemen blocked the way to the mosque and allegedly started beating people with truncheons, as well as with sticks and stones, in order to disperse the crowd, which began to throw stones at them. Policemen are then said to have fired on people and four persons are believed to have received shots. Alikhasan Agabalaoglu Agayev was said to have been shot dead and Khalid Mamedov to have suffered neck injuries. Women with children were then said to have run to the square. As a result, police and army officers were believed to have fired in the air above the heads of those gathered, and to the ground. As a result, more than 50 people are said to have sustained severe injuries and one died. After midnight the police are believed to have stopped firing, and to have left the scene. A number of men were reportedly arrested and relatives of some of those who were being treated at the hospital of Sabunchinski had reportedly been arrested on 4 June. The following persons were believed to have been arrested: Elman Qasimov, Hadjibala Ahmedov, Ssadi Qasimov, Rasha Aliyev, Elkhan Djabbarov, Farhad Shikhaliyev, Vusual Agamoglanov, Mizaaga Azizov, the leader of the Salyan branch of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, Elshan Agamaliyev, Seyfulla Aliyev, Hamid Yakhshybeyov, Hikmet Veliyev, Zameddin Rahimzade, Fuzuli Babayev, Etibar Zakiyev and Inayat Rustamov as well as Hafiz Atakishiyev, a well-known criminal who was said to be accused of illegal possession of fire arms and drugs. It was not known where all these people were currently detained.

149. On 26 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Djebrayil Alizade, the Chairman of the Association of the Baku and Villages (Baki ve Kendler Birliyi) who is said to be one of the informal leaders of the protest movement in Nardaran. He was reportedly arrested without arrest warrant on 20 September 2002 in Nardaran village by more than 10 plain - clothes police officers. Allegedly, during the arrest, a policeman threatened to kill his five-year-old grandson, Hasan Nadir oglu Alizade. Djebrayil Alizade was reportedly immediately transported to an unknown location. Fears were expressed that he was beaten on the way to his place of detention. Reportedly, at the time the Special Rapporteur transmitted this urgent appeal, his face was covered in bruises and scratches, his left ribs were broken, and his inner organs were painful. He was reportedly unable to bend his knees or lift his hands. He was believed to have been beaten before being brought to trial on 22 September 2002. The judge reportedly decided to arrest him on charges under three articles of the Criminal Code related to resisting arrest and participating in acts of disrupting public disorder. The initial term of investigation permitted by the judge is three months. Djebrayil Alizade's lawyer was said to have applied to the Court of Appeal, demanding to have the order for his arrest rescinded. Later in the same evening, the inhabitants of Nardaran learned from law enforcement agencies that Djebrayil Alizade was being detained in isolation in the temporary detention facilities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Banditry and Terrorism. From the same sources it became known that Djebrayil Alizade was accused of participating in the events of 3 June 2002, when a clash between Nardaran residents with police resulted in the shooting and arrests of local inhabitants and the death of one person. The Special Rapporteurs on the question of torture and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions intervened on 10 of June 2002 in connection with this incident. Fears have been expressed that the above-named may not have received any medical treatment for the injuries he allegedly sustained upon and after his arrest. Beylar Mahammad oglu Khudaverdiyev, one of his relatives who came to the place of detention with some food for him, was reportedly kicked by policemen, following which he had a heart attack and lost consciousness. Three of his relatives, Nadir Djebrayil oglu Alizade, Novruzali Nurali oglu Alizade and Farman Rahman oglu Djebrayilov were reportedly taken into custody and were still being detained at the time the Special Rapporteur sent this urgent appeal.

Follow-up to previously transmitted communications

150. By letter dated 18 December 2001, the Government responded to all cases transmitted by the Special Rapporteur in September 2001 (see E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, paras 75 to 82).

151. Concerning Gulhar Pashayeva (ibid., para.76), the Government responded that she had been taken to the police station on 18 November 2000 for disrupting public order. She was fined 110,000 manat on 20 November 2000 by the Shehi City Court. Her statement before the procuratorís office in Shehi alleging that the municipal police had used violence against her was examined and a forensic examination was conducted, which found no signs of injury.

152. Concerning at least 120 persons beaten in Baku (ibid., para. 78) the Government replied that on 18 November 2000, a group of individuals had breached public order by smashing windows of administrative buildings, overturning a number of police cars and resisting arrest causing injury. During investigations into the case, it was established that Anvar Gulusoy, Tekhran Samir ogly Lyatifov, Ismail Alekper ogly Sadykhly, Farzali Ashraf ogly Gasymov, Sadyg Vagif ogly Samedov, Elhan Mamed ogly Gulamov and others, who had been involved in an illegal conspiracy, decided to disrupt public order. They were remanded in custody and transferred to the Court of Serious Crimes. It was not established that the accused persons had been injured or tortured.

153. Concerning Anvar Gulusoy (Anvar Djabril ogli Guliev, ibid., para. 76), the Government indicated that he had been taken to Shehi police station on 19 November 2000 for grave breach of public order. Criminal proceedings were instituted against him and he was sentenced to four years in prison. It could not be proved that he had been beaten by members of the police force either during the investigation or while in detention at the police station.

154. Concerning Vajif Hadjibeyli (Hadjiev) (ibid., para. 82), the Government noted that the Democratic Congress Party had staged an unauthorized rally, leading to a stand-off during which 42 police officers were injured and 11 of the individuals most actively disrupting public order were detained. Vajif Hadjibeyli sustained slight injuries. However, the pre-trial investigation did not establish that they had been inflicted by law enforcement personnel. He declined the services of a legal counsel and assumed his defence himself.

155. Concerning Suleyman Mamedov (ibid., para. 78) and Amrali Babayev (ibid., para. 79), the Government responded that an investigation failed to corroborate reports of ill-treatment.

Observations

156. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the response of the Government (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, paras 85 to 104) to the recommendations formulated in his predecessorís mission report (E/CN.4/2001/66/Add.1) and he would appreciate continuing to receive information on measures taken to implement the recommendations included in this report.

157. The Special Rapporteur considers it appropriate to draw attention to the concerns expressed by the Human Rights Committee in its consideration of the second periodic report of Azerbaijan in October 2001 under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which the Committee ď[w]hile welcoming the steps taken to bring its law into compliance with international standards to prevent torture, [Ö] is deeply concerned at the reported failure to ensure application of such legal provisions and at continuing reports of the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.Ē (CCPR/CO/73/AZE, para. 10)

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