Azerbaijan: Ill-treatment of Mr. Hilal Mammadov while in detention
URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
AZE 002 / 0812 / OBS 069.2
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of
the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Azerbaijan.
Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Centre of Azerbaijan that Mr.
Hilal Mammadov, a minority rights defender and Editor-in-chief of the Tolishi-Sado (Voice of Talysh)
newspaper, was beaten and
injured by his cell mate in a
Kurdakhani prison on November 26, 28 and 29, 2012.
to the information received, his cell mate suffers from a serious mental disease. Mr. Mammadov was placed in his cell two
weeks before the attacks. However, as his cell mate's behaviour was aggressive,
even preventing him from sleeping at night, Mr. Mammadov's lawyers requested on
several occasions that he be removed from the cell, but their requests were all
ignored. On November 29, his cell mate was eventually transferred to the
medical unit of the prison hospital for treatment.
addition, on November 8, 2012, the Sabail District Court
rejected a complaint filed by Mr. Hilal Mammadov to denounce acts of torture
and ill-treatment he suffered in the framework of his arrest. Such complaint
took into account the opinion of forensic examination that injuries on his legs
could be caused in that framework, as well as a previous decision of the Nasimi
District Court (see background information). On November 19, 2012, the Baku
Appeals Court upheld the November-8 decision. Mr. Mammadov's lawyers announced their intent to bring the matter before
the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Furthermore, on November 28, 2012, Mr.
Mammadov's lawyers reported that the investigation stage had been completed,
and that Mr. Mammadov was facing accusations under Articles 274 (“high
treason”), 283.2.2 (“incitement to national, racial or religious hostility”)
and 234.4.3 (“illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation,
transfer or selling of narcotics and psychotropic substances”) of the Criminal
Code of Azerbaijan.
On December 21, 2012, the criminal case file on
Mr. Mammadov was transferred to the Court on Grave Crimes for trial. The first
hearing took place on January 9, 2013 as a preparatory session defining the
procedural issues. On that occasion, Mr. Hilal Mammadov's lawyer submitted two
motions: one requesting the audio- and video-tape of the hearing, and another
to request that his client be allowed to sit outside of the court cage,
together with his lawyer. However, both motions were rejected.
The Observatory recalls that Mr. Hilal Mammadov
has been detained for more than five months. After being sentenced, on June 22,
2012, to three months of pre-trial detention, Mr. Mammadov appealed this
decision to request a permission to serve this term under house arrest.
However, on September 10, 2012, the Baku Appeals Court upheld the original
decision, denying him provisional release. Mr. Mammadov faces imprisonment
sentences ranging up to life term, under clearly trumped-up charges brought
against him successively in June 2012, July 2012 and most recently November
Observatory firmly condemns the ongoing harassment of Mr. Mammadov, and
considers it as an obvious attempt more to silence his efforts to report on
human rights violations.
The Observatory is all the more concerned with
Mr. Mammadov's conditions of detention as former Tolishi-Sado Editor-in-chief,
Mr. Novruzali Mammedov, was subjected to similar acts of harassment and
arbitrary detention in 2007, and eventually died in custody on August 17, 2009.
The Observatory therefore reiterates its calls on the
Azerbaijani authorities to
drop all charges against him immediately and unconditionally, as such
practices seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities.
On June 21, 2012, Mr.
Hilal Mammadov was arrested in relation to a criminal case opened against him
by the Nasimi District Police under Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code. The
authorities alleged having seized five grams of heroin from him and about 30
grams at his place of residence. Article 234.4 provides penalties ranging from
confiscation of property to imprisonment for up to 12 years. On June 22, 2012,
the Nasimi District Court sentenced Mr. Hilal Mammadov to 3 months of pre-trial
On the same day, Mr.
Mammadov met with his lawyer, who discovered and photographed injuries on his
leg, and subsequently lodged a complaint for torture.
On July 4, 2012, the
accusations of illegal possession of drugs were contradicted by a joint
statement of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor
General of Azerbaijan, which states that Mr. Mammadov was in reality arrested
on June 21, 2012 on the basis of information about his supposed “cooperation
with the intelligence agency of a foreign country”, “activities against the
security and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan”, as well as “incitement of
national, racial and religious hatred”. According to the authors of the
statement, Mr. Mammadov supposedly became an agent of foreign secret services
20 years ago.
On July 4, 2012, new
trumped-up charges were brought against Mr. Mammadov under other Articles 274
and 283.2.2 of the Criminal Code. The investigators confiscated as evidence a
notebook computer as well as drives containing information. The criminal case
launched against him by the Nasimi District Prosecutor’s Office was transferred
to the Grave Crimes Investigation Department, under the General Prosecutor’s
On July 12, 2012, the Grave Crimes Investigation
Department decided to test Mr. Mammadov's blood and urine. The detainee was
taken to the Republican Drug Rehab Centre in a stuffy car alongside 20 drug
addicts and TB sufferers. At the hospital, Mr. Mammadov refused to take this
test, alleging that he had been brutally beaten by employees of the Ministry of
Interior. The detainee, who suffers from asthma, also claimed that he
considered this action as a degradation of personal honour and an attempt on
his life. It is to be further noted that this testing decision was taken 21
days after he was arrested and notwithstanding he had been sentenced to three
months of pre-trial detention on the following day on the grounds of drug
On July 25, 2012, Mr. Mammadov's lawyers appealed
against the decision issued on June 22 to sentence him to three months
pre-trial detention. However, due to an
oversight of the postal service employees, the date was written as July 26 on
the letter, resulting in the rejection of the appeal, since the deadline to
appeal against a decision is 72 hours. On August 9, 2012, the judge
nevertheless decided that the deadline was not missed and ordered to refer the
appeal to the Appeals Court.
July 31, 2012, the Nasimi District Court of Baku City had already denied the
first complaint that Mr. Mammadov had filed to denounce acts of torture and
ill-treatment he suffered in the framework of the criminal case brought against
him in late June 2012. Mr. Mammadov's lawyers claimed that the investigating
authorities had violated the Criminal Procedure Code, but the judge of the Nasimi
District Court argued that the lawsuit brought by Mr. Mammadov did not comply
with the provisions of Article 449 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Azerbaijan
(“complaints to the court concerning procedural acts or decisions of the
prosecuting authority”), and subsequently closed the hearing without listening
to the opinions of Mr. Mammadov's lawyers.
On August 29, 2012, the Nasimi District Court
further rejected the appeal that Mr. Mammadov's lawyers had filed against the
July-31 decision. While the hearing was expected to be open, the judge decided
to hold a closed trial, so that journalists and members of the committee
created in support of Mr. Mammadov had to wait for the court's decision from
In addition, on August 27, 2012, the Deputy
General Prosecutor also refused to open proceedings on the complaint that Mr.
Hilal Mammadov lodged in June against the acts of torture and ill-treatment he
suffered during the first days of his detention.
Please write to the authorities in Azerbaijan, urging them to:
in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Hilal
Mammadov as well as of all human rights defenders in Azerbaijan;
Mr. Hilal Mammadov immediately and unconditionally as his detention is
arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;
an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the allegations of
torture and ill-treatment against Mr. Hilal Mammadov, in order to identify all
those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them
the sanctions provided by the law;
an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against
Mr. Hilal Mammadov and more generally against all human rights defenders in
with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by
the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its
Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and
realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and
international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that the
State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the
competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others,
against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse
discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his
or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;
in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with international human rights standards and international
instruments ratified by Azerbaijan.
Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 19 Istiqlaliyyat St.,
Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 25, +994 412 92 28 68, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Prosecutor’s Office, 7 Nigar Rafibeyli St., Baku,
Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 82, +994 12 492 26 63, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramil Usubov, Minister of Home Affairs of the Azerbaijani Republic, Fax: + 994
12 492 45 90
Fikrat F. Mammadov, Minister of Justice in Azerbaijan, Inshaatchilar Prospekti, 1
Baku, Azerbaijan, e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel (99412) 430 09 77, Fax
+ 99412 430 09 81
Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations in
Geneva, Route des Fayards 237, CH-1290
Versoix, Switzerland, E-mail: email@example.com Fax: +4122 901 18 44
Azerbaijani Embassy in Brussels,
Avenue Moliere, 464, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 345 26 60, Fax: +32 2
345 91 85
also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Azerbaijan in your
respective country as well as to the EU
diplomatic missions or embassies in Azerbaijan.
Paris-Geneva, January 10, 2013
inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your
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Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1
43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41
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