Policemen detaining an activist, Azerbaijan. Photo: REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

22 November 2019, 11:37

Activists call on international community to react to torture in Azerbaijan

The Committee against Repressions and Torture has appealed to international organizations urging them to pay attention to torture in Azerbaijan. Activists have also suggested conducting an expert investigation into the accident, in which Ogtai Gyulyalyev, the Committee coordinator, has suffered.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on October 29, in Baku, Ogtai Gyulyalyev, the coordinator of the Committee against Repression and Torture, was hospitalized after a press conference at which he outlined a plan for a campaign against torture. A car driver hit Ogtai Gyulyalyev at a pedestrian crossing, reported a son of the human rights defender. Azerbaijani oppositionists and human rights defenders have suggested that Ogtai Gyulyalyev was intentionally hit by a car. The victim underwent surgery and stays in a coma.

Representatives of public organizations and political parties took part in the expanded sitting of the above Committee, held on November 21.

When discussing the current situation in Azerbaijan, Eldaniz Guliev, a member of the Committee and the chairman of the country's "Intelligentsia Association", has noted that the number of torture cases in the country is on the rise. "Not only ordinary citizens, but also activists not known to the general public and even leaders of oppositional parties are subjected to torture," Mr Guliev has stated.

Torture in Azerbaijan has turned into "a method of the regime's political struggle," Ali Kerimli, the leader of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), believes. "[The road accident involving] Ogtai Gyulyalyev has shown that even the human rights work to investigate facts of torture has become risky," Mr Kerimli said at the sitting.

He has noted the need to apply international sanctions against those who resort to torture, in particular, to bring them under the "Magnitsky law."

At the end of the sitting, Azerbaijani activists adopted a statement with an appeal to the international community "not to remain indifferent," as well as "express a serious reaction to facts of torture in Azerbaijan." The authors of the appeal also called for an international investigation into the accident, in which Ogtai Gyulyalyev was seriously injured.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 22, 2019 at 02:36 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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