Baku police detain a rally participant. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the Caucasian Knot

02 April 2020, 17:50

HRHF condemns Azerbaijani authorities for human rights violations during pandemic

While hiding behind the pretext of fighting against the spread of the coronavirus infection, the Azerbaijani authorities suppress freedom of speech and persecute oppositionists on trumped-up charges, the international human rights organization "Human Rights House Foundation" (HRHF) states.

"Emergency legislation and other measures taken to protect the public should be temporary, contain adequate safeguards to prevent abuse, be strictly proportionate and necessary, and remain subject to legislative and judicial oversight. Actions by the Azerbaijani authorities run counter to these requirements under international human rights law and violate Azerbaijan's commitments before international bodies of which it is a member," stated the HRHF on its website on April 1.

The human rights defenders point to the fact that on March 17, the Azerbaijani parliament approved amendments to the country's Information Law, and, according to the HRHF, those amendments led to abuse and arbitrary restriction of freedom of speech.

The HRHF also criticized the actions of the Azerbaijani law enforcement bodies. Already on March 8, the police ordered members of the opposition group D18 to vacate their offices under the pretext of the fight against COVID-19. On March 23, the police arrested opposition leader Tofiq Yagublu on questionable charges of hooliganism. On March 30, human rights defenders reported the detention of human rights defender and journalist Elchin Mamed based on equally trumped-up charge of theft.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 2, 2020 at 01:27 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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