A protest action in Baku. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

16 June 2020, 19:18

Human rights defenders call on to stop suppression of peaceful protests in Azerbaijan

The Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) and more than 30 NGOs express their "alarm at increasing attacks by the Azerbaijani authorities on peaceful protests" in the country. The human rights defenders "called on the country's authorities to immediately cease the human rights violations."

According to authors of the appeal, the authorities of Azerbaijan use restrictions imposed during the pandemic and try to "mask yet another harsh crackdown on anyone" who criticize them.

The human rights defenders note that "in recent days, the police made many arbitrary arrests and detentions which have disproportionally targeted peaceful protestors" in Azerbaijan. So, on May 31, "the police dispersed a peaceful protest of students, one of them was sentencing to 15 days in administrative detention."

Moreover, the police detained Giyas Ibragimov and human rights defender Gulnara Mekhdieva for their single person protests.

"Violent arrests also took place in response to recent events in the Baku's 'Yeni Yasamal' neighbourhood, where residents were verbally attacked and forcefully dragged from their apartments by the police. One resident, Kerim Suleimanov, alleges being beaten by police officers. Yet another striking example of the Azerbaijani Bar Association acting as an enforcement arm of the authorities, Kerim Suleimanov's advocate Javad Javadov received a warning from the Bar Association for raising legitimate concern about his client's treatment," the human rights defenders state.

"Additionally, attacks have increased against the political opposition. These attacks followed President Aliev's statements in his Nowruz address on March 19, 2020, indicating his intention to use pandemic response measures to crackdown on the opposition and limit the freedom of association."

In November 2019, Ilham Aliev criticized human rights organizations for using double standards. According to the Azerbaijani President, human rights defenders keep silence when the actions of the authorities in Europe "result in injuries and deaths of protestors."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 16, 2020 at 01:59 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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