08 February 2016, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 1-7

Decision of the ECtHR on the case of torturing Gilal Mamedov in Azerbaijan; Georgia's President addresses his annual message to Parliament; rallies in Dagestani cities of Khasavyurt and Buynaksk; meeting of housing shareholders in Krasnodar with Kuban Governor on stopped construction of house; stop of hunger strike by resident of Volgograd, who demanded from authorities to solve her housing problem, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 1-7, 2016, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

ECtHR condemns Azerbaijani authorities for torturing Gilal Mamedov

On February 4, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced its decision in the case of Gilal Mamedov, Editor-in-Chief of the Azerbaijani newspaper "Tolyshi Sado", who was convicted in September 2013 to five years in a high-security colony on charges of treason, inciting ethnic hatred and drug possession. The Azerbaijani authorities had violated Gilal Mamedov's rights, guaranteed by the article on the ban on torture, the ECtHR has concluded and appointed a monetary compensation to Mamedov in the amount of 15,500 euros. The decision states that at detention in June 2012, Gilal Mamedov "was beaten by policemen in civilian clothes." Besides, as noted by the ECtHR, during the period of Mamedov's custody "his advocate Khalid Bagirov was removed from his advocacy practice"; and this was "a violation of Mamedov's right to personal defence." Let us note here that in the course of the consideration of Gilal Mamedov's case by local courts, he refused to plead guilty and stated the political nature of his case. Khalid Agaliev, the present Mamedov's advocate, said in his comment on the decision of the ECtHR that another Mamedov's complaint is pending at the ECtHR, and expressed a hope that this complaint would be satisfied too.

Georgia's President addresses Parliament with his annual appeal, which was criticized by opposition

On February 3, Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, made his annual address to the Parliament. He noted that the past year 2015 was difficult for the country in the spheres of politics and economy: the strengthening of the US dollar and falling of oil prices were the reasons. In the context of the difficult socio-economic situation, almost 1/5 of the population emigrated. He also noted a high rate of poverty, and disproportionate rates of jobless persons as well as high rate of people employed as state servants. Margvelashvili believes that 2016 will also be "a difficult year for the country." Oppositionists have stated that the president was trying to avoid discussing acute problems. In particular, Sergo Ratiani, an MP from the "United National Movement" has noted that the President had said nothing about wrong decisions of the government, and hadn’t mentioned the institutional problems and systemic corruption. The discontent of the opposition is caused by the fact that they have lost a hidden supporter in their fight against the ruling coalition "Georgian Dream", political analysts believe.

Buynaksk: Osmanov's supporters state the need to convene all-Dagestani congress

On February 5, Buynaksk hosted a rally, where participants expressed their distrust to some Deputies of the City Assembly from the "Party of Russian Veterans", who had voted for the appointment of Acting Mayor Zakarya Amirov. The audience expressed the need to recall those Deputies, deprive them of the mandate of people's trust, and supported the idea to appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov with the demand not to block the appointment of Osman Osmanov to the post of Mayor. Initially, all the Deputies of the "Party of Russian Veterans" asked to appoint Osmanov to the post of the Mayor. These demands were heard before the election of Deputies of the City Assembly of Buynaksk on September 13, 2015, which were won by the above party. However, the later appointment of Zakarya Amirov led to a split among Deputies from this party. According to the organizers of the rally, the audience was over 1500 strong. The rally also supported the idea of setting up an initiative group for convening the all-Dagestani Congress. At the same time, the Deputy Marat Djankhaev, who is supporting Amirov, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that there were about 300 people at the rally; and he was not given a chance to speak.

Let us note here that on February 1, at a press conference, supporters of Osman Osmanov said that the split among Deputies of the City Assembly from the "Party of Russian Veterans" should be overcome through a discussion with the head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov. In their turn, supporters of Amirov said on January 27 that Osmanov had teamed up with the former head of Buynaksk Gusein Gamzatov, a representative of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party.

Protesters in Khasavyurt accuse doctors of local resident's death

On February 3, in Khasavyurt, in front of the perinatal centre, an action took place, in the course of which its participants blamed doctors for the death of a local resident Zalina Dalieva, which happened after her childbirth. The protesters violently expressed their emotions; and one of the stones thrown by them, according to doctors of the centre, broke the window of children intensive care unit. By the evening, according to protesters, the number of participants reached 1300. Dalieva's relatives asked the protesters to disperse, fearing provocation.

On the same day, the Ministry of Public Health of Dagestan said that the deceased woman had been in the risk group. In the context of her death, a criminal case was opened on causing death by negligence due to a poor execution of one's professional duties (Part 2, Article 109 of the Russian Criminal Code). On February 4, the employees of the perinatal centre came to their workplaces, but refused to work, claiming fear of violence from local residents. On February 5, the perinatal centre worked as usual. On the same day, it became known that the "Roszdravnadzor" (the Russian Federal Service for Supervision in Healthcare) started auditing the clinic.

Krasnodar shareholders force authorities to promise to address their problems

On February 2, the co-investors of dwelling house No. 3/1 in Dimitrov Street in Krasnodar, the construction of which was halted due to lack of funding, set a tent near their unfinished house and went on a hunger strike. They expressed their intention to seek a meeting with the Governor of the Territory Veniamin Kondratiev. In total, there were 60 hunger-strikers. On the same day, Kondratiev, jointly with Leonid Korzhinek, the Public Prosecutor of the KrasnodarTerritory and the Mayor of Krasnodar Vladimir Evlanov, met the hunger-strikers. They informed the protested that they had found an investor, and promised to finish the construction in the second quarter of 2016. They also promised to provide real estate investors with legal assistance. After that, the hunger strike was stopped. On February 5, it was announced that the head of the company-builder – the building company "Zhilservice" – is suspected of a large-scale fraud with the construction of the residential complex No. 3/1 in Dimitrov Street.

Pensioner from Volgograd stops her hunger strike after receiving financial help from local athletes

On February 4, the pensioner Galina Akelieva, who held her hunger strike in Volgograd, stopped her protest against the eviction of her family from the sanatorium of the Municipal Unitary Enterprise (MUE) "Metroelektrotrans". According to the woman, she was deprived of her housing property by the actions of swindlers; the court has ruled to return her the money; however, the ruling is not fulfilled until now. Since July 2012, she has lived in the above sanatorium; on January 11, 2016, she was evicted from there, and on January 13, she went on a hunger strike. The city authorities failed to solve her problem; and on February 1, it became known that the players of the local basketball club "Krasny Oktiabr" (Red October) decided to raise money for an apartment for Akelieva. On February 4, it became known that the woman, with the support of the basketball club, managed to raise enough money for an apartment in Volgograd; and the transaction is already being documented. In this regard, Galina Akelieva stopped her hunger strike.

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