22 September 2016, 20:03
UN Special Rapporteur calls on to stop persecuting activists in Azerbaijan
Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, has called on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all the arrested activists of public organizations, lift any restrictions on their departure from the country and stop persecuting their relatives. In his turn, an assistant to the President of Azerbaijan has treated Mr Forst's report as "biased."
The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Michel Forst's visit to Azerbaijan was scheduled for September 14-22.
"In the past three years, the Azeri civil society has faced the most difficult situation after the republic had gained its independence," Mr Forst said.
He recalled the problems of the newspaper "Azadlyg", whose leading columnist Seimur Khazi was arrested in August 2014; and 7.5 years of imprisonment imposed on the journalist Khadija Ismayilova.
In 2013, amendments were made in the legislation, which forbade the disclosure of the founders of commercial legal entities that hampered the work of the NGOs and journalists, conducting anti-corruption investigations.
In the opinion of Rapporteur Forst, the country's NGOs are virtually paralyzed. Thus, foreign donors must obtain permissions from the government to provide grants; and grants themselves must be registered.
Michel Forst touched upon the issue of pressure on the lawyers, who are defending journalists and activists.
The Forst's report fails to keep the balance, said Ali Gasanov, an assistant to the President of Azerbaijan on socio-political matters. He noted that the problem of refugees-internally displaced persons (IDPs) was not mentioned in the report.
Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.
Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent