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logo-PUGeneral information. This report was prepared by Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners”. Information used in this report was obtained from illegally detained former prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, as well as from reports by various domestic and international organizations. The authors performed comparative analysis of these reports.  In addition, current prisoners, their lawyers, and family members have been interviewed and their opinions also analyzed. Current situations in investigatory isolation wards, in Baku prisons, and in regional prisons were observed and assessed, and monitoring of real conditions in jails considered as primary source of information. Both domestic and international legislative acts were researched. In summary, the authors of this report included in this document every violation that they had faced, seen or experienced firsthand.

The main part of this report is dedicated to the political prisoner problem in Azerbaijan. This document covers: the history of the problem, the reasons for and the realities of the problem, the charges against political prisoners, the unjust decisions and sentences, and domestic and international attitude toward the problem.

The report contains analysis and research performed in three areas: detention centers conditions, prisoner rights, and the problem of political prisoners.

This document reveals the overall and partial conditions in detention centers, prisoner rights and the problem of political prisoners and is presented as the most real and objective report of recent years.

 

Aim of the report. The main objective of this report is to improve conditions in detention centers, to ensure the compliance of prisoners’ rights with domestic and international legislations and to assist in resolution of the problem of political prisoners. This report is considered as a bargaining tool in resolution of the mentioned problems, and pursues the goal of raising this problem in public agenda.  It can also be provided to relevant domestic and international institutes in order to perform public control over the above-mentioned problems.

 

Difficulties encountered during preparation of this report. In order to perform detailed monitoring of detention centers, to explore the current situation, to observe prisoners’ rights and obligations on the spot and to make their comparative analysis the authors of the Report needed access to the prison facilities.  Unfortunately, they were not allowed in jails run by Penitentiary Service of AR Ministry of Justice (hereinafter – “Penitentiary Service”) in spite of several appeals.

Meanwhile, determination of statistical values, clarification of some issues in order to make the Report more objective, comprehensive, and substantial were not possible because the source of this kind of information belongs to the Penitentiary Service. We regret to note that the official appeal of Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners” to the Penitentiary Service made on January 7, 2013 in accordance to the ‘AR Law on Access to information” in order to clarify some issues and to get response to some questions was ignored, and the mentioned body violated the rule and did not respond to our request.  Our lawsuit against the Penitentiary Services to allow access to the information has been pending in local courts for over one and a half years.

The denied access to detention centers and to meetings with prisoners for members of Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners” along with limited access to information created some difficulties for the preparation of the Report. But in spite of these problems the authors were able to use alternative sources to complete this Report.

 

 

General situation in detention centers.

a)     Positive points. There are some positive and evident changes in ensuring prisoners’ rights including the circumstances in the detention centers after joining process of the Republic of Azerbaijan to The Council of Europe and other authoritative international agencies, as well as ratification of international conventions especially – the Convention on European Prison Rules. Today, several additional Investigatory Isolation Wards and prisons are under construction in various regions. Some temporary investigatory isolation wards of regional and city police departments are being renovated. Facilities for prisoners, their nutrition, healthcare service, conveyance, control, etc. somewhat have been improved in comparison with the previous years.

New ammendments have been improved in the legislative acts regarding mentioned direction. “Law on Observance of prisoners’ rights and freedoms in detention centers” was adopted on May 22, 2012. Most rules of this law were adapted to the European Prison Rules. Several rights outlined in this law were implemented since 2013: in particular, currently, prisoners are offered all necessary facilities to communicate with relatives, to make one call per week, to receive visitors, to watch TV, to listen the radio, to buy newspapers, etc. The transportation facilities of the prisoners have been improved. The new law created legal basis for improvement of prisoners’ rights and obligations. However the appliance process of new amendments into the practice could be much better.

Jails, improvement of prisoners’ conditions and ensuring prisoners’ rights and obligations in Azerbaijan are in the high-light of local and international organizations comparing with previous years. The representatives of those organizations visit detention centers, meet with prisoners and take an interest in their condition and ensuring process of their rights. Despite insubstantial influence the employees of Ombudsman periodically visit detention centers, meet with prisoners and listen to their complaints.

Observatory of penalty fulfillment Inspectorate as well as Human Rights and Public Relations Department were created within the Ministry of Justice with the aim of establishing supervision on ensuring the rights of detainees in penitentiary facilities.

Also government bodies allow prisoners to perform religious rituals in relevant jails comparing with previous years.

 

b)     Negative points.  The majority of detention centers (Investigatory Isolation Wards and Prisons – ed.) in Azerbaijan are old buildings which were constructed during Soviet period. Law enforcement is not strong enough in detention centers identically in government structures and in all places of the country; there are existing cases of discrimination, corruption, savage violation and torture of prisoners. Medical support, technical and material maintenance, social and other service facilities are disadvantageous. There are serious problems in prisoners’ nutrition, garment and etc.  Most detention centers are life threating.

Operation of Penitentiary Service is responsible for detention centers and imprisonment circumstances as well as ensuring prisoners’ rights and duties, meanwhile is non-transparent, though it is closed to public and society, which creates an impression of unaccountable agency providing biased and inefficient information to public. The above-mentioned body operates ineffectively in respect to implementation of existing domestic and international rules; it does not enlist prisoners in efficiency in order to readapt them to society. Mainly, prisons in most cases should create an atmosphere of a reformatory where people deprived from their freedom are reclaimed and draw the moral from past mistakes, meanwhile penitentiaries form an opinion of enviroment where iniquity and injustice overgrow and retrieve prisoners back into society in more vindictive and rude spirit, so they demonstrate coefficient performance as members of society.

Conditions in Investigatory Isolation Wards

 

In most penitentiaries the condition for detainees is terrible. Poor quality nutrition, poor healthcareservice, prison overcrowding, unhygienic circumstances, unprofessional attitude of the head of the prison as well as inappropriate heating and cooling system remain the same. Ex-prisoner,  the member of  the Monitoring of Elections and Democratic Studies center Bashir Suleymanli tells that the condition of detainees is not satisfying. “Sometimes 6  prisoners are detained in the  cells intended for 4 people, and 10 or more prisoners in the cells  intended for  8 people.  It is explained by the majority of inmates. The condition in the penitentiary is deplorable. Prison capacity level requirements are not followed in the detention centers, at the same time inmates are forced to live compactly. 20 inmates are detained in a cell with 30 m2 spaces and it is getting tighter while the number of inmates rises. In general, the number of detained inmates exceeds standard norms in penitentiaries. It can be found out by simple calculation and comparing the limits determined by law with the real number of detainees. TV rooms are liquidated due to the shortage of space in order to be translated into bedrooms. There were TV rooms in each corps in the past, but now there are only 2 TV rooms outside the corps. Restrooms and bathrooms are disgusting and unhygienic. Hot water is not provided in winter, and this causes the emergence and spread of most diseases.

The quality of provided food is poor for inmates in Investigatory Isolation Wards as well as in prisons.  Poor inmates are doomed to eat food provided by prison, while the remaining majority receive food parcels from home and buy food from stores inside the prisons.

There are 2 TV rooms and 1 large cinema club in Penitentiary. In one room mostly news is watched, in the other movies and shows are watched. The choice of movies is given to inmates. There is no any interference. There are interesting movies and clips on a regular basis. Inmates’ preferences are always taken into consideration.

There is accurate library in the Penitentiary. The works by well-known writers of world literature are available in this library. Even new translations are receivedusually. I consider that there is not any problem in books supply.  But newspapers are brought with one day delay only with the supervision and consent of the authorities.  Independent newspapers were not delivered even if we subscribed.

There are accurate GYM facilities as well. Trainers conduct a lesson to inmates on wrestling and physical training. There is not any problem in this direction. Inmates are free to play football in the playground in the middle of the Penitentiary.

“Inmate detained in the half-dark horse stable is unable to defend himself”.

Ex- political prisoner, general director of “Khural” newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli speaks about the detention conditions of  inmates. He says that although overall condition has been improved recently, some other issues regarding humiliation of  human dignity still exists; Penitentiary Service abstain to give explanation. “Newly provided services are the subject of corruption and employees of Penitentiary Service are able to turn every possibility into profit. Although newly adopted  law on visiting dates and the use of telephone has brought positive changes, in fact the employees of Penitentiary Service can ban this possibility anytime they want”.

Inmates should be able to meet their relatives every week in the detention centers. This chance is not given to everyone. Offered reward makes the meeting possible. Inmates do not  almost  benefit from this opportunity in the penitentiary of MNS.

Cells and blocks are overcrowded. Inmates sometimes have to spend the night on the floors because of increased number of prisoners.

There is also a problem in water supply, because Baku Isoation Ward was not constructed in accordance with standards.

The detaining regime of inmates at courts is incompatible with human dignity. Detention center in Baku court on Grave crimes is especially terrible. In the past it was horse stable of millioners. Ventilation system doesn’t exist. Spending there even several minutes is life threating and humiliates human dignity. “Inmate detained in the half-dark horse stable is unable to defend himself”.

Everything is much more arduous and complex in the “blocks”. Air and even breathing cost money. Meeting, prolonged meeting, taking a shower, telephone use, unscheduled meeting-all cost money.

Even getting some sleep cost money in the “block”. No one will interrupt your sleep if you reward with 2 or 3 Azn. Otherwise you will be punished.

Rights of prisoners.  In most cases inmates  miss their opportunities determined by law. So to speak, law remains on paper. In most cases their rights are roughly violated. It is very complicated to defend and to restore violated rights and sometimes it is even impossible. Avaz Zeynalli says that  inmates’ rights are not only violated at every step but even remain unprotected. “Welfare supplies for inmates intended to be provided by state are not given or are good for  nothing, as well as it is  impossible to take advantage of services. Inmates must be provided with soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and all other necesarry supplies. But it is put into practice differently.  These supplies are provided once in a week with special request.

There has been created an atmosphere that prisoners  are ashamed to ask for some supplies. It is done intentionally by the employees of system. Every inmate brings all necessary utensils from  home. Therefore they don’t have a need of supplies provided by government. And the system takes an advantage of this as well.  Since  million worth  funds alloted  for  thousands of  inmates are embezzled. There are stores inside the “blocks”, but utensils sold there are too expensive.

I addressed to the head of the “block” in order to discover the system and inquire the supplies provided by government for inmates. I had to appeal on my behalf. it became obvious that my appeal was lost by head of the group 6 months later. I appealed again and it was sent to the chief. It remained there about a month. Afterwards I was provided with some supplies, but I didn’t use them. There were  anything provided by law: pair of socks, toothpaste. Toothpaste was musty and I threw it away.

Taking advantage of GYM facilites almost forbidden at Baku Investigatory Isolation Ward.  Place for physical training is a gaol. Inmates are able to go in for preferred sport  in the area defined only for taking a walk. There is almost any condition for physical training as well.

But there are GYMs in the “block”s. There is all necessary gym equipment. There are favorable circumstances for doing sport. Trainers and teachers are inmates. It costs 10-15 AZN per month. Thus, those places are operated as business centers of chiefs.

I used to take advantage of GYM facilities and obviously nobody asked money but for others it was not free of charge. No one could take advantage of sport facilities free of charge. GYMs are business centers of chiefs in the “block”s”.

Ex-political prisoner, a lawyer Gurban Mammadov spoke about the condition in the penitentiaries. He told that the facilities in the detention centers for prisoners are much better in comparison with 10-15 years ago, but resources of our government are terrible in comparison with European prisons”. The level of corruption is similar to government. Because there are “hefty clients” and inmates do not have another choice.

 Population density of inmates in detention centers.  As was mentioned above, the majority of prisons are old, built in the Soviet period, and do not meet modern standards. On the other hand, large number of arrests over the last years in our country increased inmate population density in prisons. The latest analysis demonstrates that funds allocated by government per every inmate are lower than the standard in both Investigatory Isolation Wards and in prisons. The intended space per each inmate is at least 4 square meters (see the law on Observance of human rights and freedoms in detention centers, Article 21.2), but in most cases this number is decreased to 2 – 2.5 square meters per inmate. At some Investigatory Isolation Wards (for example, Shuvalan Investigatory Isolation Ward number 3 – ed.) toilet facilities are part of the cell living space and are separated from the cell population only by a 1-meter tall wall.  This further creates sanitary and ventilation problems in cells.  A table below describes actual inmate population density in cells and barracks.

 

Table 1.

Population density of inmates in detention centers (person/sq.m.)

 

Row

number

Total area of cell and barrack Standard related to number of inmates The actual situation related to number of inmates
1. 4 sq.m 1 person 1- 2 persons
2. 8 sq.m 2 persons 3- 4 persons
3. 16 sq.m 4 persons 5- 6 persons
4. 40 sq.m 10 persons 13-15 persons
5. 60 sq.m 15 persons 20- 25 persons
6. 120 sq.m 30 persons 40- 45 persons
7. 200- 240 sq.m 50- 60 persons 80- 120 persons
8. 320- 360 sq.m 80-90 persons 130- 180 persons

 

Temperature inside the cells must be above 18°C during winters, but sometimes it gets so cold that inmates have to cover themselves with 2 blankets brought from home just to sleep normally.

Premises for meeting between inmates and family members are either in terrible conditions or are non-existent. The existing meeting premises are dilapidated, thick with dust, and insanitary. It is impossible to sit there in winter because it is too cold and in summer because it is too hot. The meeting premises also do not have any air-conditioning or heating.

International attitude about conditions in Investigatory Isolation Wards and prisons. Periodically international organizations and institutes (such as International Committee of the Red Cross, US Department of State, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.) prepare reports indicating their attitude towards conditions in detention centers in Azerbaijan. Summarizing relevant reports from the past three years, it is easy to conclude that terrible situation in detention centers in Azerbaijan remains despite continued improvements of infrastructure, and inconvenient condition is life-threating in some prisons. Cell overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, lack of heating and ventilation systems, water shortage, and poor medical aid cause the spread of infectious diseases ( extracted from US Department of State report;   http://photos.state.gov/libraries/azerbaijan/749085/hajiyevsx/).

All reports state that despite the continued infrastructural improvements the majority of prisons are old, built in the Soviet period, and do not meet international standards. Government agencies put limitation on physical movement of inmates, and on meetings with their family and lawyers. There are very few opportunities for inmates to work and to take part in trainings. Ex-inmates note that wardens punish prisoners by beating and placing in a lockup. Prison officers periodically read  inmates’ correspondence. The recording and accounting system of prison is not properly organized.

We present some remarks from Azerbaijan section of “Country reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014” by US Department of State;

 

Prison conditions were harsh and at times life threatening. Overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, deficient heating and ventilation, and poor medical care combined to make the spread of infectious diseases a problem in some facilities. While the government continued to construct new facilities, some Soviet-era facilities did not meet international standards.

The Ministry of Justice reported 104 deaths in ministry facilities, 79 of which occurred in medical treatment facilities. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported two deaths in ministry detention facilities in the first nine months of the year. According to a local prosecutor, the individuals’ deaths were due to medical conditions.

Prisoners reported guards punishing prisoners with beatings or by holding them in isolation cells. While most prisoners reported that they could submit complaints to judicial authorities and the Ombudsman’s Office without censorship, prison authorities regularly read prisoners’ correspondence.

The government permitted some prison visits by international and local organizations, including the ICRC, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the The Council of Europe, and the Azerbaijan Committee against Torture. While the Ministry of Justice required the Azerbaijan Committee against Torture to obtain prior notification before visiting its facilities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs continued to allow the committee immediate access to its pretrial detention centers. In addition independent experts from the UN’s Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture announced they had curtailed their mission on September 17 because authorities stopped them from visiting some detention centers.

 

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus. Although the law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, the government generally did not observe these prohibitions, and impunity remained a problem. Police crowd-control tactics varied during the year. In some cases police detained peaceful protesters and used excessive force against them. While security forces generally acted with impunity, the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that it took disciplinary action against 190 employees during the year.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees. In April the parliament adopted amendments to the criminal code. Police may detain and question an individual without a warrant from 48 to 96 hours according the amendment. Authorities at times detained individuals for several days without warrants and legal experts asserted that in other instances judges issued warrants after detentions. Authorities frequently denied lawyers’ access to clients in both politically motivated and routine cases. Access to lawyers was poor, particularly outside Baku. Opposition activist Faraj Karimov was well known for his Facebook criticism of the government. He was detained for 10 days, reportedly beating him in an attempt to force his admission to drug-related charges. Amnesty International (AI) considered Karimov and his brother, Siraj, who was arrested six days earlier reportedly because of Faraj’s activism, to be prisoners of conscience. Authorities sometimes used family members as leverage to force individuals to hand themselves over to police. In one example, on August 2, police detained Facebook and opposition Popular Front Party activist Ruslan Nasirli’s father and held him until Nasirli surrendered to authorities.

Arbitrary Arrest. Authorities made arbitrary arrests, often based on spurious charges, such as resisting police, illegal possession of drugs or weapons, or inciting public disorder. For example, on January 24, police arrested Facebook activist and blogger Omar Mammadov and subsequently charged him with drug possession. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

 

Denial of Fair Public Trial. The judiciary remains corrupted and inefficient. Many verdicts were legally insupportable and largely unrelated to the evidence presented during the trial. Outcomes frequently appeared predetermined. Credible reports indicated judges and prosecutors took instruction from the presidential administration and the Ministry of Justice.

 

Trial Procedures. Judges at times failed to read verdicts publicly or give the reasoning behind their decisions, leaving the accused without knowledge of the reasoning behind the judgment. The use of small courtrooms with inadequate seating and last-minute changes in starting times prevented public attendance at some hearings.

In the criminal cases against human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Intigam Aliyev, authorities used a variety of methods to remove some lawyers from their defense teams. After closing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Baku bureau and launching interrogations of its employees, authorities prevented a local attorney from representing staff in the case. The number of defense lawyers willing and able to accept sensitive cases reportedly declined during the year due to a variety of measures taken by authorities, including the Collegium’s presidium (the organization’s managing body). For example, on December 10, the Collegium disbarred well known defense attorney Khalid Baghirov, one of two lawyers removed from Leyla Yunus’ case. Examples of other such measures taken during the year included the detention of prominent lawyers Aliabbas Rustamov on June 28 and Intigam Aliyev on August 8. Investigations often focused on obtaining confessions rather than gathering physical evidence against suspects.

 

Political threats. Police continued to intimidate, harass, and sometimes arrest family members of suspected criminals and political opposition members, as well as employees and leaders of certain NGOs and their family members. For example, on July 30, authorities opened a criminal case against 17-year-old Ali Gulaliyev, son of Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners coordinator and former political prisoner Ogtay Gulaliyev. Police reportedly warned Gulaliyev that his son could be targeted unless Gulaliyev stopped his political activities and defense of political prisoners.

Torture of detainees. While the Constitution of Azerbaijan and Criminal Code prohibit torture of detainees and provide for grave penalties, such torture remains an active issue in detention centers. Most mistreatment, sexual abuse and torture of detainees take place in temporary detention centers, pre-trial detention facilities, as well as in prisons. The torture takes form not only in physical violence but it also includes various sexual abuse, confinement in unsuitable premises, subjection to psychological pressure, discrimination, etc. According to the information from prisoners, their relatives and lawyers, security service officers beat detainees, and insulted journalists and demonstrators in order to threaten them and to get coerced confessions. Impunity remained a problem. In accordance with received information authorities reportedly maintained a de facto ban on independent forensic examinations of detainees who claimed mistreatment and delayed their access to an attorney. Prisoners placed in lock-up, or punishment cells, were severely beaten.

 

“Chief said that beat the inmates in a way that no traces remain”

Ex-prisoner Avaz Zeynalli says that acts of torture and violence don’t get decreased in detention centers. This is evident with the cases of death in Penitentiaries. “When i was detained in the prison number 10, at times we were sending corps of inmates to their homes once in  a 20 days. Many of them died with their own fate but it is also interesting that wealthy and healty detainees stay in medical sanitary units of detention centers despite they are determined for patients. This  is torture as well. There does not operate a doctor on night duty. And this causes the death of inmates. Penitentiary keeps this completely secret. I have asked several times but nobody replied.

Acts  of torture are widespread in “block”s. It is kept as secret, they don’t get into details. But chiefs talk  about acts of violation with proud in front of the wards. I remember that once  Mirsaleh Seyidov, the head of prison number 10, addressed to the inmates brawiling in front of the cell: “Beat  in a way that no traces remain. We know these techniques. At least learn from us”. It was said ironically, but there is death threat everyday while they jointly humiliate inmates. Accidental  fatality in the penitentiary number 14 is evidence for this. Elshad Babayev was beaten to death and afterwards eyewitness who called the media also was killed.

It is interesting that Ali Ibrahimov, head of the penitentiary number 14 and Firdovsi, deputy chief who was suspected in Elshad’s death came by the head of prison number 10 who taught the techniques of torture of the cell number 14.

Currently  physical torture as well as oppression  has been increased. Chiefs keep a watch over the well-known prisoners  as well as political inmates. They detain inmates under tension in order to annihilate the human brain. I was surrounded with these violence techniques while i was detained for 17 months  in the penitentiary number 10. My every step was in watch, everybody was aware of this. The chief never denied rather than repeated arrogant accomplishment.

An obvious sample of torture of scribers is to prohibit the right of  using computer. I had been struggling for my right to use computer for about 3 years 2 months and 2 days, i had adressed to Madat Guliyev, ex head of Penitentiary Service, but i felt such a failure. In the detention center during Elkhan Sadigov’s term of i was permitted to use computer for a short period of time as well as i used computer for about a month in the penitentiary number 10 on june 2013, but afterwards it was banned causelessly. There were more than 100 computers in the penitentiaries, in pay computer rooms it was permitted to play games and to watch videoclips. But it was forbidden to write. In the penitentiary number 10 there were inmates who created there own web pages,  took advantage of  internet everyday, drew drafts of villas for chiefs and employees of the Ministry of Justice. They could do everything, but computer was prohibited for scribers dedicated their life to inscriptions.

I had  handwrited more than 5000 pages. Sometimes my hands puffed up, sometimes bleed off and from time to time i couln’t even hold a pen. It is completely  a torture and must be recorded as an act of torture in contemporary world.

Prohibition of the use of computer is an act of torture like beating, humiliating, discrimination and this is typical for every penitentiary  in Azerbaijan where about 12 journalists are detained.

There are  facts of detaining minors in the penalty cells which is prohibited by law. This was notified by Khadija Ismayil, journalist, political inmate. She drew this information into the attention  of media and society. Afterwards well-knowm attorney affirmed this fact by declaring the incident 15 years old inmate faced.

 

Torture and pressure against political prisoners

 

Information on the problems of conditions and increased instances of torture and pressure against political prisoners in penitentiaries was recorded recently.

Ex-prisoner Leyla Yunus, one of leading human rights activists, head of the Institute for Peace and Democracy constantly faced psychological pressure by authorities while she was arrested. She faced pressure by other inmates committed multiple crimes and periodically authorities created obstacles for deliveries of her medications and necessary diabetic food.  Leyla Yunus attorney reported that she faced pressure not only by cellmates, but wardens as well. But the violation acts against her was denied by Penitentiary Service.

Many social-political organizations stated that beyond the attempts of the Penitentiary Service to dissimulate the acts of violence stands the authorities’ political volition.

There were published several articles about the ill-treatment and acts of violence in Baku Inverstigatory Isolation Ward against Leyla Yunus, human rights defender. The commentary of her lawyer affirmed this.

She was tortured, took to an empty cell, then was pulled by the hair and knocked down.  Mrs. Yunus showed her body bruises to the participants during the trial. Leyla Yunus is 60 years old and she suffers from severe diabetes hepatit C. Mistreatment towards her violates all legal norms.

Ilgar Mammadov, a prominent political analyst and chair of the opposition group REAL (Republican Alternative), one of Azerbaijan’s few alternative political voices, was detained in the penitentiary number 2, had informed the society by his attorney about the saboutage against him.  Afterwards he was beaten in the office of the chief and he was put into the penalty cell. According to the information given by the relatives chair of Real was exposed to physical violence, was beaten and his teeth was broken.

This is not the first and probabaly the last act of violence towards Ilgar Mammadov. Because due to the decision of  European court he had to be released.   But government doen’t take into account such releasement towards its political opponent. He has been repeatedly pressured  to apologize to head of state and to pledge his support. Mammadov has suffered repercussions for refusing to do so.

Theologist, the head of Muslim movement Taleh Bagirzadeh has been imprisoned several times. Although he was released on 30 July 2015, persecution continued. Bagirzadeh was invited to police department as well as to MNS several times. There were acts of violence against him while he was detained in Yasamal police department last time. The information was provided by his attorney first and  himself subsequently.

Afterwards he was imprisoned in “ incidents of Nardaran” . According  to reliable sources he was detained at the Main Department for Organized Crime of the Ministry of  Internal Affairs and was tortured brutally. But we don’t have chance to define this more precisely. Because Bagirzadeh’s lawyer doesn’t have permission to meet with him.  This makes more suspicion about the fact of violence towards him.

Public alliance “Azerbaijan without political prisoners” has demanded state authorities to put an end to ill-treatment and acts of violence towards the inmates detained in prisons. The alliance have reminded repeatedly that attitude towards inmates is regulated by law and legal norms are violated.

Ill-treated Elvin Abdullayev, APFP activist remembers Kurdaxani prison where he was tortured: “ They intentionally put homosexual inside my cell (in order to insult me). I insisted to get him out or to change my cell. They placed me in punishment block, they tortured me like even armenians couln’t do, they handcuffed me 3 days like Nasimi and i was beaten by 10 men, i was kept 3 days without food and water, they tortured me in order to make me to change my faith for the reason that i didn’t obey rules of detention center. There remain traces of lashing. They didn’t beat only my face. I didn’t have fault, i don’t know why i was tortured. This  Kurdaxani academy of  Penitentiary Service where inmates’ rights are violated. Young man’s distortion, acts of torture against him, the oppression of unbelivers of GOD to make me change my faith….”

Activist of APFP, political prisoner Murad Abilov is one of the detainees who was tortured and ill-treated. He was imprisoned in the operation held by  Main Drug Enforcement Depatment of MIA  on 11 august , 2011 in Sabirabad, region of Khalfali where he is inhabited. When he was detained he was tortured by  law enforcement officers without any accusation. He denied the evidence of drugs in his pocket which was put into by police officers. Afterwards he was humiliated, insulted, his relatives and family members were blackmailed, but he was beaten by Tarlanov Elman, Imanov Parviz, Kazimov Azer, (police officers), Rauf Sultanov, Shabandiyev Vusal and two others because he didn’t confessed.  This act of torture was applied in front of Alifaga Kazimov, the deputy chief.

Empoyees of  Main Drug Enforcement Depatment came up after 2 days while Murad Adilov was detained at the main department for organized crime and   performed acts of torture against him and tried to get confession. Murad Abilov denied to confess faulsly despite of  all violence.

These cases were investigated properly in the court but it was not evaluated fairly , consequently appeal of complaint was sent to European Human Rights Court.

One of the outrage was during the survey sent by Yalchin, Murad’s  lawyer to Main Department for Organized Crime  and Penitentiary where he was detained. Although Murad Adilov mentioned that he didn’t have any traces remaining in his body while Kurdaxany isolatory ward sent response highlighting that there was injury in Murad’s thigh (http://www.azadliq.info/65299.html).
Murad Adilov was not permitted to meet Yalcin while he was detaining at the  Main Department for Organized Crime. Complaint appeal about the issue was sent to Ombudsman and general prosecutors’ but there is not reply. His attorney was required to keep secret the act of violence after meeting otherwise he couldn’t meet Murad       (http://www.azadliq.org/content/news/26528870.html). We would like to remind that Murad Adilov is Natig Adilov’s brother. Natig Aliyev is a spokesman of APFP and employee of “Freedom” newspaper.

While speaking about the acts of violence towards inmates, ex political prisoner Bashir Suleymanli told that although there wasn’t direct act of violence against him, humilitation of human dignity against inmates connived: “ My hair was shaved forcibly although it was not law-abiding. My attorney reported this via media. But an employee executing illegal act continues his activities without being brought to justice”.

 

 

Death in prisons…

According to research the acts of violence are not removed on the contrary sometimes these acts result in death. Death incidents happen annually. In most cases these facts are covered up, the death of inmate is explained with other causes. Acts of torture reportedly resulted in 4 death incidents according to the report on human rights practices for 2014 by US Department of State. Elshad Babayev’s death on 22 december  2014 in Penitentiary number 14 was the most terrible inmate incident in the result of torture. Physical signs of abuse were obvious according to his sister and witnesses as well as the photos of the corpse spread out from mortuary.

Torture against Elshad Babayev resulted in  death, told  one of the inmates in a detailed way. Before the incident Elshad Babayev was placed in  penalty cell and was tortured. His shout was heard from the yard of dispensary ( there are 2 walls and 30 meter of distance between cell and dispensary).  Afterwards his body didn’t withstand daily torture, he was dead.  Faig, the head of regime department, comitted mistreatment against deceased, Firdovsi and Tural, respectively head and deputy head of operations department, Vugar, officer on duty, Rahib,warden and Ali Ibrahimov, head of this group and the prison were officials of the ward executing acts of violence against deseased. This was in the result of undelivered 5 azn which was demanded by Ali Ibrahimov”.

One of the witnesses complaint to the prosecutor about Elshad Babayev’s death  which was cause of torture.  After this incident the inmate was forced to move to Dispensary and after a week the news about his death with the diagnosis of “heart desease” broke out.  He was forced to change his complaint about Elshad Babayev’s death.

After the death of the inmate detainees of the penitentiary number 14 hold protest action against injustice.  Some of the inmates attacked the wardens and threw sones to some places of the ward. Journalists Araz Guliyev, Miryusif Seyidov, Anar Gasimli, Ilham Hatamov and Ramil Guliyev prevented the incident adding that the move was inaccurate. A bit later special forces entered the ward. Inmates promised silence after negotiations whereupon necessary investigation of Elshad Babayev’s death. Thereby special troop of Penitentiary Service was deployed into the ward after some days later, on 26 december at 5 oclock in the morning. Inmates were beaten brutally.

Araz Guliyev, Miryusif Seyidov, Anar Gasimli and some others were beaten and were taken to “Tubzon” ( Specialized Treatment Dispensary) in order to be tortured. They were brutally tortured under the supervision of Nizami Guliyev, the head of the ward, afterwards  they were brought back. Despite the complaint of his relatives to government authorities they were tortured for about a month hungry and thirsty, they were not allowed to meet the relatives and attorneys. After the intervention  of local and international organizations as well as International Red Cross Comitee they were taken to maximum Security Gobustan Prison.

Despite all of these the crime investigation  on  Elshad Babayev’s death was closed in a short time and it was expertised as “heart failure”. After the death of inmate Ali Ibrahimov the head of the penitentiary ward, was advanced and prompted to the rank of extraordinary colonel. It is not clear in which criteria his rank was based on. It is known that scandalous death incidents took place in the penitentiaries he governed. The main witness of Elshad Babayev’s death was Yadigar Nuriyev.

This august he didn’t  abstain to tell the acts of torture which resulted in Elshad Babayev’s death, he wanted the public to be aware of all he was a witness. But he was dead in the result of overdozage of medicines at treatment dispensary for prisoners.

Yadigar Nuriyev’s remarks  were published on 26 august 2015, in the newspaper of “New Musavat”: “ He was kicked, beaten with baton and anything else… “

Ali Ibrahimov,  head of the penitentiary ward, was mentioned in the reports on acts of violence provided by international organizations. According to the report of Public Alliance “Azerbaijan Without Political Prisoners” on “The current situation in detention centers, the problem of political prisoners, and our responsibilities” the names of 21 officials took place. Ali Ibrahimov is in 18th place.

It is worthy to mention that investigation prosses on Elshad Babayev’s death was launched in Garadag Prosecutor’s with the  criminal code number 309.1 – abuse of  position duties. Elshad Babayev’s death in the result of torture was reviewed like this. Afterwards criminal code was transfered to Baku city Prosecutor’s office. But the case was not investigated impartially.  That’s the reason the case was moved to higher instance. The investigation in Procurator General office didn’t differ from others.  Political prisoner Gurban Mammadov who was imprisoned in the penitentiary number 14 said that Elshad Babayev was beaten to death brutally. “ Ill-treatment towards inmates continues. That’s why public surveillance must be strengthened, the doors must be opened to journalists and parents”.

Death incidents in police departments. Death incidents were recorded in the penitentiray wards as well as in the police departments. For example, mysterious case of death happened in Mingachavir police department…

The incident was in one of the rooms of the police department when Bahruz Hajiyev inhabitant of the city, suspected as drug dealer was detained by police officiers of Mingachavir.  According to the information given by police department B.Hajiyev commited the act of suicide during the intorrogation by throwing himself out of the window of the third floor.

But there are mysterious facts in this. Relatives of deseased, eyewitnesses hearsay is contrary to the police information.  Review of the deseased body clarified  acts of torture.  Father of deseased said that Bahruz was detained in the street, was put into the car and was brought to police department. According to the surveillance cameras father of deseased told that his son didn’t resist the police while entering the police department.  There he was checked up. Then he was tortured and died in the result of torture. Police officers became panic and threw him out of the window demonstrating act of suicide.

His father don’t believe police officers, adding that his son  had traces of torture even elecktroshock.  His father says that he turned to many instances for the investigation of his son’s crime. “ I am tired  to address for investigation. My son was killed at the department, his crime is not investigated properly. He had signs of elecktroshock but nobody wants to make it obvious. I complained on prosecutor’s they sent my appeal  to prosecutor again.  How is it possible.  Whom i have to turn?  They soil my son’s blood obviously” .

Acts of torture in the prisons of Azerbaijan in International reports…

 

Acts of torture in the prisons of Azerbaijan obviously noted and criticized unambiguously by local human rights defenders and organizations as well as by world known intenational institutions. The reportsand documents  by US State Department, UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch include the acts of torture in Azerbaijan.

In Azerbaiajn section of the Reports on Human Rights by US State Department it is mentioned that 324 cases of complaints have been accessed to local human rights defenders on the acts of torture by  law enforcement officials. 4 cases of torture resulted in death. For Example, Elshad Babayev was dead on 22nd of december. According to his sister he was dead in the result of torture. The authority of the prison denied the accusations.

Ill-treatment took place at police departments. Law enforcement officials used torture and methods of violence in order to get confession. Suspisious people were threatened to be  disgraced.  Human rights defender, Head of Institution for Peace and Democracy Leyla Yunus said that they were threatened to be disgraced while they were in the detention office on 28-29 april.

Acts of violence  was stopped after they were moved to investigation ward.  But acts of violence continued against  Leyla and Arif Yunus in the investigation ward. According to the information by Leyla’s attorney the head of prison major Yagubov  knocked her down and by pulling her hair beat her kidneys on 23rd of September.

The de-facto prohibition to the inspection of the detainees claiming to be tortured continue.

United Nations comitte against torture reported that government of Azerbaijan has failed to prosecute a single torture case despite hundreds of allegations of torture in its detention facilities in the past few years in 2015. The committee’s concluding observations expressed concern that in response to the hundreds of torture complaints filed with law enforcement agencies in recent years, not a single person has been prosecuted.  The Committee against Torture, consisting of 10 independent experts, scrutinized Azerbaijan’s record as part of its periodic review of the government’s compliance with the UN Convention against Torture.  Here are some paragraphs from the report;

Practice of non- prosecution of exercising acts of torture. The committee’s concluding observations expressed concern that in response to the hundreds of torture complaints filed with law enforcement agencies in recent years, not a single person has been prosecuted. Although 334 appeals of complaint were addressed to the penitentiary Service during 2009-2013 years. MIS received 984 complaints on the acts of torture towards people by authorities as well as prosecutors received 678 similar appeals. The committee cited the lack of prosecutions as “a strong indication that torture investigations are not conducted in a prompt, efficient and impartial manner.”

The committee also expressed concern that Azerbaijan “deemed unfounded all the allegations of torture and ill-treatment raised during the dialogue, several of which had previously been addressed by other United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms.”

The member state should not resist tolaerantly to violence, sholud stop practice of non-prosecution of exercising acts of torture. The concrete information have to be provided on improvements of the investigation of torture and mistreatment acts. The right of every citizen to observe objective and effective investigation of own complaint should be provided.

Cruelty against human rights defenders.. The concluding observations noted “with deep concern” the arbitrary imprisonment and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, including Leyla and Arif Yunus, Ilgar Mammadov, Intigam Aliyev, Mahamad Azizov, Rashadat Akhundov, and Rashad Hassanov, noting Arif Yunus’s transfer to house arrest. The committee also stressed with concern the government’s “categorical” denial of allegations of mistreatment and arbitrary detention, despite authoritative reports by “the United Nations and other international organizations human rights mechanisms.” The committee urged Azerbaijan to “release human rights defenders who are deprived of their liberty in retaliation for their human rights work” and to amend legislation regulating nongovernmental organizations “to ensure that all human rights defenders are able to freely conduct their work.” Azerbaijan authorities should promptly heed the committee’s recommendations for prompt, thorough, and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and to set imprisoned human rights defenders free.”

Violation of rights of Detainees. Other problems the committee flagged include the authorities’ frequent denials of access to a lawyer of a detainee’s own choosing, lack of independence of the judiciary and of lawyers, the disbarment of several lawyers who have taken on human rights-related cases, and allegations that confessions coerced through torture or ill-treatment “were subsequently admitted as evidence in court.”

Absence of independent juridical system. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party should guarantee the full independence and impartiality of the judiciary, give practical effect to the guarantees for judicial independence laid down in its legislation and review the regime of appointment, promotion and dismissal of judges in line with the relevant international standards, including the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.

Pressure against lawyers. The Committee is concerned at reports that the Bar Association operating in Azerbaijan under the lawyers and legal profession act is not sufficiently independent from the executive and this has had a negative impact on the independence of the legal profession. The Committee is also concerned at reports that, on many occasions, lawyers defending human rights activists and victims of torture, that their licenses have been suspended or that they have been called as prosecution witnesses, impeding them from representing their clients. The State party should take steps to ensure the independence of lawyers in law and in practice.

Evidence obtained through torture. The Committee is concerned about numerous and consistent allegations that persons deprived of their liberty have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment for the purpose of compelling a confession, and that such confessions have subsequently been admitted as evidence in court. While noting that under article 125.2.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure evidence obtained through the use of violence, threat, deception, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts are not admissible in criminal proceedings. the Committee is further concerned at the State party’s failure to provide the Committee with information on cases in which judges have deemed confessions inadmissible on the grounds that they were obtained through torture or with data on the number of cases in which judges have sought investigations into allegations made by defendants that they confessed to a crime as a result of torture.  The State party should deliver a clear message through appropriate channels and immediately take steps to ensure that, in practice, statements made as a result of torture may not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings.  The State party should ensure that any persons convicted on the basis of coerced evidence or as a result of torture or ill-treatment are afforded a new trial and adequate redress. The State party should provide the Committee with information on any cases in which confessions were deemed inadmissible on the grounds that they were obtained through torture and indicate whether any officials have been prosecuted and punished for extracting such confessions.

Violence against minors. The Committee is concerned about the reported cases of ill-treatment and torture used to obtain incriminating confessions and testimonies from minors and that no effective investigations have been conducted in respect of such allegations. The State party should systematically ensure that minors have a lawyer and/or a trusted adult present at every phase of a proceeding, including during questioning by a police officer, whether or not the minor has been deprived of liberty. The State party should enact juvenile justice legislation, including age-appropriate safeguards against torture for minors.

Investigation of death incidents in prisons. The State party should amend its legislation, regulations and policies as necessary to facilitate the reopening, granting of access to and full functioning of independent national and international human rights and humanitarian organizations in the State party.

The state party provides information on decrease number of prisoners, improvement of penitentiaries as well as newly constructed detention centers. Committee revises its recommendations that it is concerned on violation of rights of prisoners and multiple complaints on the case. The other fact about concern is the condition in penitentiaries.

All death incidents took place in prisons should be investigated properly and those committed torture that resulted in death should be punished. Committee revises again that conditions in the detention centers, especially in 10 and 14th prisons should be improved.

Azerbaijan Comittee against Torture publishes report on comitted acts of torture every year. According to the last report of the comittee 112 complaint appeals received on torture and mistreatment. Three of them were juveniles, 13 of them were women.  4 were dead in the detention center.

Punishment methods for all forms of torture are provided by law. Code of Criminal Procedures purports following penalty to the law enforcement agencies who  is in  official duty, comitted acts of torture and mistreatment and/or  impel and approve such opeation:

-        Penalty from 3000 azn to 4000 azn;

-        Discharge from any recruitment for 3 years and/or deprival of liberty from 3 to 8 years.

-        Unfortunately any of law enforcement officials were prosecuted and punished officially for conducted violence. This fact indicates that acts of torture dissimulated illegally in law enforcement agencies and penitentiaries.

BLACK LIST

Of officials that tortured inmates:

Some detainees are subjected to torture from the first day of detention. Their torture continued in prison as well. Ex-prisoners and those who were subjected to torture reported that the officials listed below were more severe than others during torture:

 

1. Arshad Hasanov – former chief of Prison number 14, retired

2. Alzamin Guliyev – former regime officer of Prison number 14

3. Rauf Majidov – chief of Terter RPD (Regional Police Department) of MIA (Minister of Internal Affair)

4. Alifagha Gasimov – deputy chief of Sabirabad Regional Police Department

5. Vusal Shebendiyev – chief of Sabirabad police department’s criminal investigation unit MIA

6. Seyfeddin Guliyev – former chief of duty service in Sabirabad RPD of MIA

7. Said Seyidov – former officer of Organized Crime Department of MIA, currently promoted and advanced in rank and appointed to another post at MIA

8. Azer Seyidov – chief of Baku Investigatory Isolation Ward number 1

9. Shahin Osmanov – former chief of maximum security Qobustan Prison

10. Samir Huseynov – former chief of Prison number 17

11. Rauf Mammadov – chief of Prison number 12

12. Gajay Aslanov – former deputy chief of Prison number 17

13. Babek Isgenderov – chief of regime at Prison number 17, nickname “king of tortures”

14. Aftandil Aghayev – former chief of Prison number 12

15. Shakir Bayramov – chief of Ganja Investigatory Isolation Ward

16. Murtuz Sadigov – chief of Prison number 8

17. Nazim Kenkerli – former chief of Prison number 14

18. Ali Ibrahimov – chief of Prison number 14

19. Nizami Guliyev – chief of Tuberculosis Clinic

20. Elchin Alijanov – chief of Prison number 17

21. Fagan Yaqubov – officer of Baku Investigatory Isolation Ward

 22.Fikrat Gafarov – chief of maximum security Gobustan Prison

23. Tarlanov Elman – employee of the main drug enforcement department

24. Imanov Parviz – employee of the main drug enforcement department

25.Kazimov Azer – employee of the main drug enforcement  department

26. Mahmudov Mammad – former chief of Prison number 16

 

Unfortunately, the officials mentioned in the list above are powerful men at the Penitentiary Service and MIA and currently most of them hold high positions. Moreover, some of them were promoted and advanced in rank instead of being punished for illegal acts and violence. Some “kings of tortures” who were retired due to old-age receive pensions from the budget of Azerbaijan state for demonstrated inhumane attitude and torture against Azeri people (!?).

 

Facts of corruption in detention centers

Corruption in detention centers is much more malformed  and deplorable. If persons in freedom have alternatives, possibility of acting,  inmates don’t have any other alternatives than to  give bribe in detention centers .  Meanwhile,  inmates have to give demanded bribe or they should pay for it severely. According to research  every year big amount of money is collected from prisons and is circulated. This money is collected within hierarchy.

 

“ The monthly salary of the cheif of the ward number 10 is 280.000 Azn”

Ex-political prisoner Avaz Zeynalli told that The Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code  is subject to corruption in prisons. “ Evertying provided by law exchanges into money and returns to inmates.  Telephone calls are legal for twice a week. But inmate can use telephone everyday. Price per 1 to 15 minutes call varies between 1 to 15 Azn (price varies  due to the cell, for example in the 10th cell it is 1 to 2 azn, in 13 and 14th cells it is 3 to 5 azn).  Inmates can use phone everyday, of course with bribe. They have to pay bribe for every call to the warden responsible for the use of telephone.

Bath as well. According to law it is permitted to take a bath twice a week. But you can take shower everyday. Price for 30 minutes of shower is 0.50 azn. There are  2 or 3 baths in some cells. Affordably there are baths per 2 or 1.  Bath for an hour costs 2 azn. There are baths for 1 azn per an hour or per half an hour for 0.50 azn.

I made a research  while i was in prison. Everything eyewitnessed by inmates. Money for clothes intended to be given twice in a year  and food that have to be provided 3 times in a day is embezzled quitely.

Ex political prisoner Bashir Suleymanli said that the situation on corruption is terrible in detention centeres. “Everything costs money. Although i didn’t pay money but it is not affordable for other inmates. Because there are cases of mistreatment if someone avoid to pay. Corruption is widespread between junior chief staff and employees. Probably big money work out for big cases. But inmates also play role in these cases. They are interested in covering up own responsibilities by giving bribe. I even thought that there could happen  revolt without corruption. For example, inmates smoke in the cells although it is forbidden. But warden  turns a blind eye. Because of corruption. Of course here the main responsibility goes to corrupted.  But improvements is not sufficient”.

 

Collected bribes and amounts are described in the table below:

Table 2.

 

Number Type of bribe Amount of bribe Is it considered as a legal tax?
1. Parcel delivery to prisoner 5- 15 manat No
2. To receive visitors 20-100 manat No
3. To sleep on first level of bunk bed 150- 200 manat No
4. To stay in “Bourgeois” cell 500- 2000 manat No
5. To stay in special room of prison 150-300 manat per month No
6. To avoid being shaved bald 10- 20 manat No
7. Training in GYM 10-30 manat per month No
8. To make a phone call 5- 15 manat No
9. To be released after 1/2 of term 350- 400 manat per month No
9. To be released after 1/3 of term 200- 250 manat per month No
10. To take a shower individually 5 manat No
11. To wash clothes in laundry 1 clothes 50 qəpik-1 manat No
12. To go to Medical Block (“Sanchast”) 200- 500 manat No
13. To stay in Medical Block for an extended time 150- 200 manat per month No
14. To get extended visitation 150- 300 manat No
15. To open small window in the wall (“garmoshka”) 5 manat per hour No
16. To keep fan and electrical stove in cell 10- 30 manat per month No
17. To eat in café 1 plate 3 – 7 manat No
18. To avoid mandatory work in quarantine 250- 300 manat No
19. To play computer games 5 manat per hour No

 

Note: prices in prison store are 1.5 – 4 times higher than common prices.

Political prisoner problem in Azerbaijan… 

According to research  political prisioners’ problem in Azerbaijan emerged as  a problem since 1993. According to unofficial sources 22 years ago to be more precise, since 1993  approximately at least 2200 people (names are mentioned in different lists-ed.)  were detained due to political activities or there were political motives in imprisonment cases.

Approximately 1500 of them were recognized as political prisoner by local human rights defenders and international organizations.  It is interesting that  Leyla Yunus human rights defender, ex-political prisoner, for the first time introduced half of the inmates and they were recognized as political prisoners.  More than half  part of inmates of the country in the last 22 years were mentioned in the lists prepared in  1996-2000 and 2013-2014  by Leyla Yunus.  The number of politically motivated detentions and imprisonments has increased sharply since Azerbaijan was adopted as a member to the The Council of Europe.

Names of more than 700 people were mentioned as political prisoners in the list created by human rights defenders at that time. From time to time  the mentioned political prisoners  were released with the support of  The Council of Europe and other international organizations,  as well as local organizations on  human rights protection. But problem of  political prisoner has not been solved yet.  New detentions were realized.

Over the last period new terms about the inmates are included into the political terminology; detainees of 4th of July Ganja case, detainees of “OMON”, detainees on the case of Shahmardan Jafarov”, detainees of counterfeit coup d’etat, detainees of elections, detainees of 2 April, detainees of conscience, detainees of  Kur, detainees of  Ismayilli, detainees of   Bina, detainees of  headscarf, detained activists of NIDA, detainees of  Eurovision, detainees of  like, detainees of  Nardaran.

Recently, names of 98 political prisoners were added to the list of political prisoners agreed by both Leyla Yunus  and Rasul Jafarov, human rights defenders.  29 of them were released over the last period. Some of them were pardoned,but others were released becase they served a sentence. Names of 8 political prisoners included into mentioned list. 80 names of political prisoners were included in the list created by the unit on political prisoners  before the bloody Nardaran incident on 26 november 2015. In Addition the discussions continue over recording the names of detainees with political motives into the mentioned list.  For the next period of time some other detentions over political motives took place as well.

 

The number of political prisoners varied over the past 22 years.  Although the number increased from time when it was 700 people, without insulting anybody it must be mentioned that  during the mass detention the number was 700, but many of detainees at that time were ordinary, selfless and not well-known. But now the detainees are ordinary, selfless as well as well known, who are accepted as political activities by local and international  society .   Likewise government implements quality and quantity exchange on detainees. Now detainees are enough famous, active socially and politically as well as potential to influence the public.

The other issue is that , government realized detentions  in a certain standard some years ago. Juvenils, well-known human rights defenders, especially women  activists were not subjected to calumny and  arrested. Currently there is anyone enjoying special protection or red line.

We  observed this in the  illegal detention of “NIDA” activist, 17 years old Shahin Novruzlu, women public activist Nigar Yagublu, Leyla Yunus, Khadija Ismayil as well as Intigam Aliyev. In previous years there were not detention cases of descendant because of father, relative because of political leader, brother because of political activist. We witnessed this tendency by the punishment and imprisonment of Jamil Hasanli’s daughter Gunel, nominated in 2013 to run for president, chairman of APFP Ali Karimli’s brother in law Elnur Seyidov, coordinator of Public alliance “ Azerbaijan without political prisoners” and human rights defender Ogtay Gulaliyev’s juvenile son  Algushad Gulaliyev, employee of Freedom newspaper Natig Adilov’s brother  Murad Adilov.  At the same time Gultakin Hajibayli ex member of the parliament, member of Coordination Center of National Councils was threatened to take away her juvenile descendant  as well as she was drawn into useless litigation.  All her property was put into arrest on the basis of absurd claims. She was involved in the defamation  within fictitious criminal prosecution.  Recently independent journalist Gunel Movlud’s brothers, Emin Milli’s brother in law, Ganimat Zahid’s nephew  were imprisoned  in order to take vengeance of social activists and to frighten them.  Eldaniz Guliyev, member of Coordination Center of National Council, film director, was fined 1000 azn because he insulted the activity of traffic police in his facebook page and was involved to 480 hours of social work.  Producer was known guilty because he  “slandered” and “humiliated” the police. National Council of Democratic Forces considered  the verdict of the court as political decision and told that he was persecuted because his active opponent position.

Azerbaijan is in the list due to the high number of political prisoners among European countries.  Even in the countries such as Russia and Belarus from former  Soviet Union  the whole number of political prisoners is less than those in Azerbaijan.  Currently, conseptions of  independent media, independent  civil society are liquidated in the country. Some of public activists, human rights defenders, journalists are imprisoned illegally. Our country is one of the countries with high  number of political and conscience prisoners.    According to official information the number  is 80 but it is more than indicated. Even in  Belarus, the last authoritarian country of  Europe the head of state Lukashenko adopted an order  releasing the last 6 political prisoners. But in Azerbaijan the political prisoners are not released, even new ones are slandered  and imprisoned for the place of released partners.

Political prisoners problem became one of the actual problems of  recent times. It is due to the fact of the restriction of  freedom of speech, media,expression and assembly  and increased number of imprisoned in the result of social political activities.

The number of imprisonment and arrest by political motives  augmented after the resolution  on “ the Review of the political prisoner issue in Azerbaijan” adopted  by The Council of Europe  on 26 january, 2013.

According to the research conducted by Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without political prisoners” there are more than 100 political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

Employees of prosecutors’ conducted Preliminary investigation  on the cases of political prisoners and judges issuing unfair verdicts violate the law by implementing political order and conducting severe punishment against innocent people, as well as demonstrate inhumanity. But the attitude of society is not adequate towards them. Undoubtedly the officials will repay before the law. Therefore in order to strenghten reproach against their illegal and disgraced activities the names of employees and judges conducted registered verdicts against political prisoners should be presented to public frequently and should be reprobated.  Thereby we include some names into the report:

 

The list of judges conducted registered verdicts against political prisoners.

Black list

1. Ramella Allahverdiyeva (Baku  court on Grave Crimes – Avaz  Zeynallı, Khadija İsmayıl)

2. Afgan Hacıyev (judge of Baku  court on Grave Crimes –Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus)

3. Javid Huseynov (judge of Baku  court on Grave Crimes – NİDA)

4. Rafig Kazımov (judge of Balakan district- Rasul Mursalov)

5. Rashid Huseynov (judge of Sheki court on Grave Crimes – İlgar Mammadov, Tofig Yagublu, “cases of İsmayıllı” )

6. Elchin Kazımov (judge of Lankaran  city court on Grave Crimes – Yadigar Sadıglı)

7. Shovkat Nacafova (judge of Sumgayıt city court – Seymur Hazi)

8. Elshad Aliyev (Lankaran  city court on Grave Crimes – Murad Adilov)

9. Fikrat Garibov (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Elvin Abdullayev)

10. Rasim Sadıgov (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – İntiqam Aliyev)

11. Emin Mehdiyev (judge of Nasimi  district court – Gurban Mammadov)

12. Zeynal Agayev (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes   – Nijat Aliyev and other  inmates of  Eurovision, Asif Yusifli)

13. Samir Aliyev ( judge of Sabunchu district court – Hajı Taleh Bagırzadə)

14. Novruz Karimov ( judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Parviz Hashimli)

15. Rauf Aliyev ( judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanlı)

16. İlham Karimli ( judge of Absheron city court – Nigar Yagublu)

17. Eldar İsmayılov (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Movsum Samadov, Rufulla Axundzada and other, Rasul Jafarov)

18. Eldar Mikayılov (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes  – Omar Məmmədov, “case of inmates of headscarf” )

19. Ahmad Guliyev (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Abdul Abilov, Siraj Karimli)

20. Faig Gasımov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

21. Mirzayev Sahibkhan (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

22. Jamal Ramazanov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

23. Əflatun Qasımov (judge of Baku court Appeal – Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanlı, Gunel Hasanli and others)

24. Mirzali Abbasov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

25. Amir Bayramov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

26. Mirpaşa Huseynov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

27. Hasan Ahmadov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

28.Vagif  Mursaqulov (judge of Baku court Appeal – some political cases)

29. İsmayıl Ahmadov (judge of Shirvan court of Appeal- APFP activist Murad Adilov)

30. Jalilov Oruj (Lankaran  city court on Grave Crimes-Abdullayev Mubariz)

31. Anvar Seyidov- (judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes-Səid Dadashbayli and others)

32. Ilham Jafarov- judge of Supreme Court – some political cases)

33. Farhad Karimov, judge of Supreme Court – Parviz Hashimli

34. İlgar Murguzov, judge of Supreme Court – Khadija İsmayıl

35. İnqilab Nasirov, judge of Supreme Court – Araz Guliyev and other theologians of Masalli

36. Nizami Guliyev, Lankaran  city court on Grave Crimes Araz Guliyev other theologians of Masalli

37. Kamran Akbarov, Shirvan court of Appeal – Araz Guliyev other theologians of Masalli

38. Azer Orujov, judge of Baku city  court on Grave Crimes – Hilal Mammadov cases of others

39. Tirgay Huseynov – judge of Narimanov court (theologians deteained in the incident in front of Ministry   of Education)

40. Aqshin Afandiyev –judge of Yasamal court (Günel Hasanli, cases of Nurchus’)

41. Etibar Humbətov- judge of Nasimi court  ( Gültakin Haaıbəyli’s  juvenile descendant’s case)

42. Famil Nasibov- judge of Sabail court, at the moment judge of Agsu court, Mahammad Majidli’s and others case)

 

The list of employees of Prosecutors’ office executing political orders 

Black list                                                                                 

1. Rustam Usubov – deputy of general prosecutor

2. İbrahim Lambaranski -  investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

3. Ahmadov Eldar –Head of  Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

4. Orkhan Zeynalov – investigator of State Border Service

5. Parviz İbayev – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

6. Ramil Gurbanov – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

7. Emil Qahramanov – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

8. Gasım Mammadov – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

9. Sattar Rzayev – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

10. Vugar Nasibov – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

11. Sanan Pashayev – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

12. Orkhan Babayev – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

13. Nadir Mirzayev – investigator of Investigation Department of  general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

14. Gurban Safarov- investigator of general prosecutor’s on Grave Crimes

(Hilal Mammədov)

15.Mubariz Suleymanov – investigator of Narimanov Police Department (Məmməd İbrahim)

16. Elshan Murtuzov – investigator of MNS (case of Parviz Hashimli)

17. Nadir Mustafayev – investigator of MNS (cases of “Nurchus)

18. Hajı Afandiyev – investigator of main department on organized crime (Murad Adilov)

19. Yasin Mammadov- ex deputy head of preliminary investigation department of MNS (Said Dadashbayli and others)

20. Nadir Mustafayev- ex head investigator of preliminary investigation department of MNS (Said Dadashbayli and others)

21. Sahib Alakbarov- ex investigator of  head of preliminary investigation department of MNS (Said Dadashbayli and others)

22. Eldar İsmayılov-  ex investigator of  head of preliminary investigation department of MNS (Said Dadashbayli and others)

Expert who gave counterfeit reference on political issues

  1. 1.     Jeyhun Allahverdiyev-  ministry of  health Expertise Centre for Forensic Medical Examination and Pathological Anatomy department chief  (Gunel Hasanli, Emin Huseynov, Aqil Khalil, Jamil Hasanli, Ganimet Zahid, Rafik Tagand others)

P.S. Part of the names of employees of prosecutor’s who constituted counterfeit  bill of indictment as well as judges who conducted unfair and illegal  verdicts against political prisoners are mentioned in the list above. Research in this cases continues.

 

According to Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without political prisoners”   the activities of mentioned judges, prosecutors and expert should be seriously investigated, at the same time conducted verdicts should be legally assessed and penalties as well as  sanctions should be implemented in a local and international basis.

 

A year of Working group……

Unfortunately, instead of resolution of political prisoners problem, new public activists are imprisoned, the abcense of the problem is denied, at best, formal working groups formed to win out. The formation of a joint working group on human rights last year in order to resolve the problem by the initiative of Thorbjørn Jagland, general secretary of the Council of Europe, is an example for the issues reviewed. Government created a joint working group on human rights in order to supress the increased international pressure regarding releasement of political prisoners.  Representatives of Presidential Administration, ministries and committies, members of parliament as well as members of civil society were included into the group. During the formation of mentioned group Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without political prisoners”  mentioned that there was any need to create such formal groups in order to release political prisoners.  The creation of the group aims only to expand maneuver and imitation opportunities of government.

Some human rights defenders were challenged not to participate in this immitation game. But they urged to give time and opportunity to resolve the problem . The joint group on human rights  couldn’t achieve any substantial success in the case of political prisoners problem and human rights despite of its wide contingent in the previous year. Obviously several individuals took initiatives to resolve the problem. But these initiatives were not sufficient to achieve alleged mission. The problem on human rights and political prisoners could not be resolved even by high authorities unless political will is not demonstarated.

Inhuman pseudo-pardon decrees….

Pardon decrees are signed by the head of state on special occasions after the insistence of local and international society. According to these alleged humanist attempts unexpected prisoners are released rather than the ones who deserve to be free, who are illegally imprisoned and who were calumniated and detained. The recent pardon decree was adopted 9 months ago on May. In the decree signed by the head of state expected prisoners who had affirmative resolutions from European Human Rights  court were not set free. Only some of political prisoners from 100 who are unfairly detained were set free.

Ali Insanov and Ilgar Mammadov and dozens of others who had affirmative resolutions from European Human Rights  court were not set free.  The government demonstarted irreconciable and indifferent approach against people struggling for freedom, democracy and human rights.

We would like to point out another remarkable issue in recent pardon decree. Most of the inmates in the pardon  list  were  charged  and imprisoned with grave crimes by the courts in Baku and in the regions on grave crimes. (http://www.president.az/articles/14580).  The verdict on the detention of some of them  were conducted  in 2013-2014 and they were sentenced due to their criminal activities. But they do not even serve 1/3  or ¼ of their sentences.

Of course we are not against the emancipation of the prisoner in the society full of social unjustice and discrimination. We consider that social justice should be restored,  Golden Amnesty should be provided, rules for detention and punishment should be reviewed. The humanistic principle in the pardon decree  falls to the ground by looking at decree. Because the detainees comitted crimes against people, damaged private and state properties, engaged in human trafficking and contraband, poisoning the society with narcotics and engaged in drug dealing inside the country and etc. were released in a day with a decree, but why detainees  who devoted their lives to purification of society, choosed to defend human rights, properties and national and spiritual values as their main mission of life such as Ilgar Mammadov, Tofig Yagublu, Yadigar Sadigli, Intigam Aliyev, Leyla Yunus, Rasul Jafarov, Khadija Ismayil, Anar Mammadli, Seymur Hezi, brothers Siraj and Farj Karimli,Asif Yusifli, Hilal Mammadov, Taleh Khasmammadov,Nemat Panahli and other selfless people, youth from NIDA exclaming “ end to soldier death”,    religious people claiming “ Allah is one” and others are not set free?  The last pardon decree has shown that detainees are assorted not because of the crime they had committed, but because of personality and faith.

The latest pardon decree denounced the imitation policy on the case of political prisoners one more time. This resolution demonstrated the formal creation of the working group on human rights on october last year.

Political immigrants…

There are many people who had to leave the country due to their civil-political activities and who now have serious problem with returning. Rustam Ibrahimbeyov, nominated in 2013 to run for president seats by National Council established by opposition, along with many other politicians, civil society activists, journalists, intellectuals, and former parliament members are exiled from their motherland. They face arrest or ban on foreign travel if return to Azerbaijan. Following individuals can be arrested or subjected to revenge of authorities and have to live in exile: For example, Eldaniz Yusubov, immigrant in Netherland and who was the head of Executive branch of Gabala during APR government   was not allowed to enter the country  while he wanted to attend his brother’s mourning ceremony on december 2015.  Isa Sadigov, Huseyn Abdullayev, Mirza Sakit, Elshad Abdullayev, Atakhan Abilov, Habib Muntazir, Agil Khalil, Gabil Rzayev, Fikrat Huseynli, Tural Maharramov, Ingilab Karimov, Surkhan Latifov. Ramin Nagiyev (previous officer of MNS- France), Ganimat Zahid (general editor of Azadlig), Hasan Gafarov, Kanan Gafarov, Mubariz Azmli, Chaglar Gasimov(Netherland), Shahin Shushali (National hero), Elmar Shakhtakhtinski (USA), Gorkhmaz Asgerov(USA), Ramiz Yunus (USA), Mahir Javadov (Canada), Rasul Guliyev(USA), Natig Afandiyev (ex-head of police department in Ganja), Lachin Mamishov, Ilgar Nasibov, Melahet Nasibova, Rasul Mursalov, Natig Adilov, Arif Mammadov and others are in the list.

 

Last arrests. Despite of  the solid claims of local and intenational society the government  detains new activists  for their social-political activities rather than to set others free. According the research  probably 30 people were conducted to criminal code and were imprisoned due to political motives recently. Among those there are detainees with any political activity and who are slandered because of being relatives of social activists or journalists.

Social and political activist are  accussed and arrested due to the articles of to seize power by force (article 278), resistance to authority (article 315), Narcotics (234 article), hooliganism  (221 article), illegal posession of arms (228 article), mass public disorder  (220.1, 220.2 articles), abuse of competences  (308 article), tax evasion and etc.

The names of recently arrested:

 

1. Hajı Elshan Mustafaoglu, theologian 

2. Nazim Agabəyov –  Emin Milli’s brother in law  

3. İmanov Raji Vazir – Gunel Movlud’s brother

4. İmanov Vakil Vazir  – Gunel Movlud’s brother

5. Mammad İbrahim Aziz  –  adviser of the chairman of APFP

6. Bagırzadə Zeynalabdin Bagır  –  activist of APFP, Nakhchivan 

7. Mahmudov Nazim Azim – member of APFP, Nakhchivan 

8. Mammadov İsmayıl İsakh  – Nur movement

9. Sabzaliyev Ravan Hakim  – Nur movement 

10. Hajıyev Eldaniz Balamat – Nur movement

11. Hasanov Shahin Mukhtar – Nur movement

12. Mammadov Zakariyya İsakh  – Nur movement

13.  Zahidov Rufat Farasat  – Qanimat Zahid’s nephew

14. Zahidov Rovshan Agazahid- Qanimat Zahid’s relative

15. Tofig Hasanli – poet, critic

16. Gunel Hasanli- Jamil Hasanli’s daughter

17. Hajı Taleh Bagırzadeh- chairman of Muslim union movement

18. Elchin Gasımov- deputy chairman of Muslim union movement

19. Fuad Gahramanlı- deputy chairman of APFP

20. Members of Muslim union movement arrested in the result of Nardaran incident.

Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without political prisoners”  considers that the persons imprisoned during a year and above mentioned  have been arrested due to political motives. Some of the 5 criterias of the The Council of Europe on  political prisoners have been violated brutally in their incarceration.

 

Illegal arrests took place by MNS during last 10 years…

They should be reinvestigated 

Recent incidents took place with previous MNS – minister Eldar Mahmudov’s dismissal, Akif Chovdarov’s arrest,the head of the department, as well as 80 other arrests, their accussation in commiting grave crimes, dismissal of 250 employees and etc. obviously demonstrated that the bodies and authorities responsible for the security of the society directly are source of threat. People engaged in organized crimes network lead mentioned group who commited severe illegal activities such as kidnapping people, taking hostages, deprivation of property, commitment acts of violence, slandering, killing and etc.  A question arises: if the group who committed severe voilence on behalf of  the government against population could conduct justice towards anybody? Obviously no.  Most of businessmen, social-political activists and their siblings were dismissed  from their positions, were handcuffed and arrested, faced life prison, lost their health and lives  by members of mentioned criminal network during  the past  10 years.   Some were exiled from the country, many people are arrested most of them are considered as political prisoners. For example, Said Dadashbayli’s group, Elnur Seyidov, fellows of NIDA, journalist Parviz Hashimli, Rauf Mirgadirov and others. Mentioned illegal and revengist arrests  aimed to streghthen the increasing power of MNS in the society as well as served to obtain much privilege and endowment in the government. Repression of Said Dadashbayli’s group faced should be highlightened among those arrests because its scope, level of violence  and  caused agitage.

As a result of special pre-planned operation carried out by MNS in  2007 Said Dadashbayli, Mikayıl İdrisov, Cahangir Karimov, Farid Agayev, Rasim Karimov, Samir Gojayev, Beybala Guliyev, Raşad Aliyev, Jeyhun Aliyev, Emil Mehbaliyev, Fatulla Babirov, Zaur Orujov, Rashad İsmayılov, Faig İsmayılov and Mubariz İsmayılov, 15 fellows,who were born between 1974-83 years, were prosecuted and were sentenced for 12-14 years  according to the articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan number 218 (establishment of criminal group), 274 (high treason), 28.2 (preparation plans on conducting grave crimes), 180.3.1 (plunder comitted by organized group), 278 (seize and take power by force), 228 (illegal possession of firearms), 204 (counterfeit deal with capital and securities), 234 (illegal tranportation of reservation of narcotics)and etc.

Most of the fellows mentioned above were qualified to higher education, therefore were employed by international organizations. Meeting in a private session lasted  2 months after detention under pressure for 10 months in MNS.  Anvar Seyidov the judge, conducted severe penalty verdict against 13 fellows. The court of appeal kept the verdict of the court of first instance in force without any witness and evidence during 2 hours. Anvar Seyidov confirmed the prosecution without any investigation violating the principles of unilaterality, partiality and equity. After session he sent al letter of congratulation to Eldar Mahmudov and asked to award the employees of Anti-terror center of MNS regarding the operation held.  The letter which was included into the lawsuit materials demonstrated the case to be  counterfeit and registered.

Faithful people, non-alcoholic, non-smokers are prosecuted for drug use.  The people are prosecuted for coup d’etat while they never used arms. The fact is considered because their participation at shooting gallery within MIA.  According to the bill of indictment they are accused as though to be part of contradicting organizations of “Hizbullah”, “Hizbutahrir”, “Hamas” and they were quasi spreading Masonic faith.  How can contradicting sects be prompted together? Said Dadashbayli’s as well as group members’ attitute towards the pro-Iran muslims were not positive according to the accused, their siblings and friends, at the same time due to material evidence.

Said Dadashbeyli’s father considers the prosecution against the youths as  “ spun  story by  MNS”. “ we are muslims, we pray, we believe in GOD. And GOD heard our complaints. Youths who didn’t even know each other, how could they create organized group to commit coup d’etat”. Said Dadashbayli didn’t recognize Rashad and Faig Ismayilov brothers as well as Mubariz Suleymanov…  Generally it is wondering to observe the fellows mentioned in the case. For example, Samir Aslanov who is Isgandar Khalilov’s nephew. well-known businessman, 3 employees of “Azerigaz” and others.. The people mentioned above were not aquainted with Said Dadashbayli as well.

There are many illegal and unsubstanciated prosecution facts in the bill of indictment and court verdict  for the case of  “Said Dadashbayli and others”.  Because the case causing disturbance was illegally registered and committed by MNS.

Investigation was launched in the houses of detained and their relatives during their arrest without the decision of the court.  Illegal confiscation of  jewelleries, money,computer, laptop, even a car was captured and was not returned back. The illegal activities, counterfeit operations, registered arrests, fictional “coup d’etat” launched by MNS should be properly investigated and assesed legally. Victims of repression, unjustified prosecution, imprisoned as well as deprived should be justified. The case of Said Dadashbayli should be investigated juridically.  Generals, head of departments  should be punished for the crimes commited on behalf of the government in recent 10 years….

 

Conditions in maximum security Gobustan Prison

The condition in maximum security Gobustan Prison remains severe. Implemention of law on “Observance of individuals’ rights and freedoms in detention centers”  and Fikrat Gafarov’s appointment  as a new chief  didn’t bring any positive changes. The information was provided by relatives and attorneys of detained.

Chairman of the Protection Comitee of rights of prisoners for life Muslumat Rzaxanov said that after the death of  Khanbala Mahmudov on 2 september detained in Gobustan prison and Abbasov Alagif who committed suicide on 16 September rejecting violent withdrawl from his cell, subsequent death incident happened in the prison within  a month.  These incidents processed the detention center into “fascist concentration camp” due to inhuman treatment and torture since 2014.  According to the information of inmates the acts of violence are conducted against poor, handcuffed detainees without any reason.  The acts of handcuffed punishment were not implemented against inmates during previous 20-25 years.

Head of prison Fikrat Gafarov while is unwilling to regocnize supreme law, “rejecting” the abolition of death penalty from 1998, notifing the inmates who imprisoned in severe conditions  more than 20 years on their obliged death and the subsequent death of inmates in the prison is the obvious sign of threat towards detainees.

Illegally handcuffed punishment of prisoners applied by the head of prison unrelevant for past 20 years,  is a kind of physical and moral violence. Forcibly dicharging detainees from cells which were renovated at their own expence, cohabit of inmates with different qualities, as well as creation of condition for conflicts among prisoners are among the punishment methods of the authority of prison. The prisoner who wants to know the reason of  mistreatment is beaten violently, naked and handcuffed and punished while being detained 15 days or a month in a penalty cell.  Thus prisoner is intended to stay illegally in a penalty cell (for example, Zaur Suleymanov, Rahib Masimov and other prisoners). At present the acts of physical and moral violence is life threating and cause serious concern to relatives.

 

The complaint appeals addressed to the Minister of Justice as well as to the department of Penitentiary Service was sent to Fikrat Gafarov, head of prison for “investigation”. As the result complaining inmate face severe torture. Inmates’ visitors face ill-treatment while visiting their sibling (are naked and are controlled brutally) and controlled without special appliances. Appeals on every incident addressed to the head of state are sent to the head of prison to be investigated. The result is prisoners’ mysterious deaths….

 

Prisoners are blocked to obtain information, at the same time restriction is put on their correspondence. Prisoners’ correspondence with head of state as well as with appropriate authorities, courts, attorneys, at the same time with Ombudsman are imposed to cencorship.  The complaints  about the condition in detention center, the illegal and criminal  treatment of the chief staff and employees are not sent adequately. Inmates sending complaint are included into  the “black list” and are mistreated. At the same time they are prosecuted insincerely, are beaten and are put into penalty cell. Chief staff back up the reality in the prison.

Inmates are put together with an ill detainee and are infected intentionally. It is impossible to keep in touch with the head of the prison. He doesn’t receive any sibling as well as doen’t reply the phone calls. Inmate is not provided with bill of indicment in order to make complaints according the law. The Stationary, unrestricted juridical literature, correspondance with authorities as well as pen, envelope, posters are controlled by the head of the prison or expropriated.

Why corresponce of prisoners are blocked if there is no ground for complaint? why do they afraid of inmates’ correspondance? The complaints about the head of prison turn back to him. Is there any need for lawyers and investigators in the Penitentiary Service?

Penitentiary Service refutes all criminal activities reling on the “investigation” of the chief.

Remarks on criminal activities of  authorities mistreating prisoners who are handcuffed and restricted to obtain information should be investigated.  The appropriate information should be obtained not from the Public comitee under the Ministry of Justice, Penitentiary Service as well as chief of the prisons and lawyers, but from prisoners who are tortured and their relatives.  At present the act of violence and pressure continue more brutally in Gobustan prison. The information on the death of inmates, Fikrat Gafarov’s cruelty against inmates as well as death threats towards prisoners, at the same time  subsequent information on death incidents affect the lives of their siblings tragicaly as well.

 

The problem of transparency of Penitentiary Service

Contrary to the information anounced by the official broadcasting service management, recruitment and appointment, financial management, as well as common conditions in detention centers,  receiving independent human rights defenders to the investigation wards and detention centers for launching monitorings, meeting and investigating problems of prisoners and some other issues lack transparency in the field of  Penitentiary Service. For example, despite of complaints and appeals government as well as Penitentiray Service don’t provide  information on allocated funds, budget, at the same time nutrition, clothes, detention, logistics, social and health care expenditures, also salaries of the employees and other expences. Penitentiary Service reject to provide information on the expences per detainee despite the appeal of the public Alliance “ Azerbaijan without political prisoners”. The interesting fact is that government and Penitentiery Service transmit this information to international organization rather than to public and civil society. This contradicts the requsitions of legislation. On the other hand allocated funds for Penitentiary Service is spent by state budget. Budget expenditures is public fund and it is not permitted to keep it confidential.

Unexecuted decisions of the European Human Rights court. The resolutions on the prisoners in Azerbaijan adopted by European Human Rights court are not executed. This decision was adopted in regard to Ali Insanov, ex Minister of Health, some years ago. At present similar act is launched towards other political prisoners such as  chairman of Real movement Ilgar Mammadov and deputy chief of Musavat party Tofig Yagublu who were detained on January 2013 in the incident of Ismayilli. During the meeting on human rights held on 9 december by the Comittee of Ministries of the The Council of Europe deep regret was expressed to Azerbaijan government regarding Ilgar Mammadov’s remaining arrest for the 5th time. Whereas verdict of European court and a number of appeals were addressed to Azerbaijani government on the case.   Ilgar Mammadov’s immediate release and putting an end to the attempts to avoid the implementation of the decisions of the European Court  were requested in the decision.

European court  conducted verdict on Ilgar Mammadov’s  unjustified arrest on may 2014 and called for his immediate release.  Afterwards European court conducted similar verdict on Tofig Yagublu’s case.  Similar verdict on Ali Insanov’s case was conducted 3 years ago. But these poltical prisoners remain in prison at the moment.

Conclusion. Summarizing the above mentioned points about detention conditions of inmates in prisons of Azerbaijan, observance of prisoners’ rights and the problem of political prisoners it can be concluded that while the government continued to construct new facilities, some Soviet-era facilities did not meet international standards. Many prisoners experienced harsh detention conditions, some of which were life threatening. Overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, deficient heating and ventilation, and poor medical care combined to make the spread of infectious diseases a problem in some facilities. At times the authorities limited visits by attorneys and family members. Efforts to ensure adequate physical exercise for prisoners and opportunities to work or to receive training are not sufficient. Authorities used torture or other mistreatment against inmates.

Corruption in detention centers is one of the serious problems and it is a largely widespread problem. Poor observance of prisoners’ rights and implementation of some laws such as “Observance of prisoners’ rights and freedoms in detention centers” and European Prison Rules as well as gaps in this sphere are the real reasons for concern.

In order to solve problems it is necessary to take serious steps toward improvement, as well as to create all opportunities for laws to work and deep reforms have to be conducted.

Currently the most serious problem is the problem of political prisoners. There are more than 100 inmates in prisons who were arrested due to their civil-political, human rights protection, journalistic activity or religious beliefs. Authorities slander all individuals who pose danger to their power, and arrest them using different charges. Courts make fantastic and absurd decisions in respect of those people. Despite the fact that several domestic and international organizations have pressured Azerbaijan authorities many times government officials continue to arrest new civil activists under the different fictitious pretexts instead of resolving the political prisoner’s problem. Conducted research demonstrates that Azerbaijan is one of the leaders among CIS and European countries on numbers of political prisoners per capita. This number can be considered as a real index of the human rights situation, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of mass media. This number is also the result of severe punishment used by the current authoritarian regime against civilians. In most cases, criminal proceeding started in accordance to Criminal Law end up with other more severe Article and with maximum sentences. And this tells about the essence of the regime, about its severity as well as about the existing corruption among the law enforcement bodies. Imprisoned people are also punished for their “crimes” in accordance with the unwritten rules of the prisons. Today most detention centers of Azerbaijan look like concentration camps.  Inmates get released from prison not as rehabilitated individuals who understood their mistakes and accepted their punishment, but on the contrary, they exit battered and oppressed, to use prison slang “broken”.

Current Penitentiary Service’s essence, working regime, and attitude towards inmates are the same as they were in the Soviet era.

Most people thought that if Azerbaijan becomes member of The Council of Europe, ratifies European Prison Rules and many other Conventions, serious reforms would be conducted in this sphere, but unfortunately that has not happened yet. On the other hand, some dirty deeds such as revenge, repressions, creation of threats among people sprung up from the essence of the regime and subjected people to more brutality in the cold cells of prison.

According to the information gained all Investigative Isolation Wards and Prisons are filled with inmates. Extremely high number of prisoners is not appropriate for the small cell size. This fact is confirmed in reports of many domestic and international organizations.

In order to improve the detention conditions, observance of prisoners’ rights, and to solve the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan immediate and comprehensive measures have to be planned and implemented.

 

Recommendations:

In order to improve the conditions and infrastructure, to ensure the protection and observance of prisoners’ rights and duties, and to solve the problem of political prisoners in detention centers of Azerbaijan some recommendations are provided below:

 

  1. Reform the Azerbaijan legislation basis in particular with respect to improvement of the conditions in detention centers and observance of prisoners’ rights as well as ensuring the law works with full force;
  2. Ensure the total implementation of the law on “Observance of prisoners’ rights and freedoms in detention centers”;
  3. Destroy the old Investigative Isolation Wards that are dangerous to life and accelerate the construction of new facilities;
  4. Ensure the transparent activity, accountability, and openness to the public of the Penitentiary Service and ensure that requests for information from civil society institutes are satisfied;
  5. The facts of torture and corruption sholud be investigated with high importance and resolved; to take measures against officials who committed illegal acts;
  6. Investigation sholud be conducted towards improvement of conditions in detention centers, acts of torture and violence, dependence of juridical system, illegal prosecution of social activists and etc. mentioned in the reports preapered by international agencies as well as  US Department of State and UN Comittee against Torture and Corruption.
  7.  Put an end to discrimination against civil society institutes wishing to visit inmates in prisons in order to monitor the situation, and to study their problems, as well as to create possibility for above mentioned by Penitentiary Service;
  8. The rules dedicated to improvement of the general situation and conditions in detention centers, as well as ensuring the observance of prisoners’ rights and duties have to be absolutely compatible with European Prison Rules, which Azerbaijan ratified;
  9. Improve the quality of food, provisions, medical aid, social services; increase the professionalism the Penitentiary Service staff, their attitude towards prisoners should be regulated by law;
  10. The cases of lifers sentenced to life imprisonment in the mid 1990s have to be reviewed case-by-case;
  11. Put an end to all persecutions due to civil-political activity of individuals. Immediately release all presumed political prisoners without any conditions. Azerbaijan government should compensate every political prisoner for all material and moral damages.

 

 

THE LIST OF USED SOURCES AND DOCUMENTS

 

  1. The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  2. Law on “Observance of prisoners’ rights and freedoms in detention centres” of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  3. The Rules on participation of society in rehabilitation of prisoners and conduction of public control on activity of centres that implements punishment
  4. International convention on European Prison Rules
  5. The Report of the US Department of State
  6. The Report of International Committee of the Red Cross
  7. The Report of Amnesty International
  8. The Report of UN Committee against Torture
  9. Interview with former prisoner of conscience, attorneys and human rights defenders
  10. Web page of the Penitentiary Service of Ministry of Justice
  11. “SPACE” Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics on criminal cases and punishment

 

 

Report was prepared by Public Alliance “Azerbaijan without Political Prisoners”. Source must be refered in the case of use.

 

December, 2015 Baku

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