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Azerbaijan
11.07.12
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Hilal Mammadov

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

AZE 002 / 0712 / OBS 069

Arbitrarydetention /

Judicialharassment

Azerbaijan

July 11, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Azerbaijan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory hasbeen informed by the Human Rights Centre of Azerbaijan (HRCA) about the arrest,arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Hilal Mammadov, aminority rights defender and editor-in-chief of the Tolishi-Sado (Voiceof Talysh) newspaper since June 9, 2012[1].

According to theinformation received, on June 21, 2012, Mr. Mammadov was arrested in relationto a criminal case opened against him by the Nizami District Police underArticle 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code (“illegal manufacture, purchase, storage,transfer, transport or sale of drugs in a large quantity”). The authoritiesalleged having seized five grams of heroin from him and about 30 grams at hisplace of residence. Article 234.4 provides penalties ranging from confiscationof property to imprisonment for up to 12 years. On June 22, 2012, the NizamiDistrict Court sentenced Mr. Hilal Mammadov to 3 months of pre-trial detention.

On the same day, Mr. Mammadov metwith his lawyer, who discovered and photographed injuries- on his leg, andsubsequently lodged a complaint for torture. Such complaint remains unansweredas of issuing this urgent appeal.

On July 4, 2012, the accusations of illegal possession of drugs were contradicted by ajoint statement of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan, which statesthat Mr. Mammadov was in reality arrested on June 21, 2012 on the basis ofinformation about his supposed “cooperation with the intelligence agency of aforeign country”, “activities against the security and territorial integrity ofAzerbaijan”, as well as “incitement of national, racial and religious hatred”.According to the authors of the statement, Mr. Mammadov had supposedly becomean agent of foreign secret services 20 years ago.

On July 4, 2012, new trumped-upcharges were therefore brought against Mr. Mammadov under other Articles of theCriminal Code, i.e. Article 274 (“treason”) and Article 283.2.2 (“incitingnational, racial, social and religious hatred, hostility and ethnicdiscrimination”). The investigators confiscated as evidence a notebook computeras well as drives containing information. The criminal case launched againsthim by the Nizami District Prosecutor’s Office was transferred to theDepartment for Grave Crimes under the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Mr. Hilal Mammadovpresently remains detained in the premises of the Investigative Prison in Baku.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the arbitrarydetention and judicial harassment of Mr. Mammadov, as they seem to only aim atsanctioning his human rights activities.

The Observatoryunderlines in particular that the first edition of the Tolishi-Sadonewspaper under his authority as editor-in-chief was due to be released at theend of June 2012.

The Observatory is allthe more concerned that former Tolishi-Sado editor-in-chief, Mr. NovruzaliMammedov, was subjected to similar acts of harassment and arbitrarydetention in 2007, and eventually died in custody on August 17, 2009[2].

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Azerbaijan,urging them to:

i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. HilalMammadov as well as of all human rights defenders in Azerbaijan;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent investigationinto the allegations of torture against Mr. Hilal Mammadov, in order toidentify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, andapply them the sanctions provided by the law;

iii. ReleaseMr. Hilal Mammadov immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary sinceit only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iv. Putan end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - againstMr. Hilal Mammadov and more generally against all human rights defenders inAzerbaijan;

v. Conformwith the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especiallyits Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and inassociation with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that theState shall “take all necessarymeasures 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 otherarbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his orher rights”;

vi. Ensurein all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Azerbaijan.

Addresses:

· Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of theRepublic of Azerbaijan, Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan,19 Istiqlaliyyat St., Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 25, +994 41292 28 68, E-mail: office@pa.gov.az,office@apparat.gov.az

· Prosecutor’s Office, 7 NigarRafibeyli St., Baku, Azerbaijan, Fax: +994 12 492 06 82, +994 12 492 26 63,E-mail: eldar_sultanov@prosecutor.gov.az

· Mr. Ramil Usubov,Minister of Home Affairs of the Azerbaijani Republic, Fax: + 994 12 492 45 90

· Mr.Fikrat F. Mammadov, Minister of Justice in Azerbaijan,Inshaatchilar Prospekti, 1 Baku, Azerbaijan, e-mail: minjus@azdata.net, contact@justice.gov.az; Tel (99412) 430 09 77, Fax + 99412 430 09 81

· Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan tothe United Nations in Geneva, Routedes Fayards 237, CH-1290 Versoix, Switzerland, E-mail: geneva@mission.mfa.gov.az Fax: +4122 901 18 44

· Azerbaijani Embassy in Brussels,Avenue Moliere, 464, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 345 26 60, Fax: +32 2345 91 85

Please also write to the diplomatic missions orembassies of Azerbaijan in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missionsor embassies in Azerbaijan.

***

Paris-Geneva, July 11,2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the codeof this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated tothe protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concretesupport in their time of need.

To 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 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] The Talysh people is an ethnic minority living in the south of Azerbaijan.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal AZE 001 / 0808 / OBS 139.7.

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