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Urgent Interventions

Assault against the son of two women human rights defenders

AZE001 / 0813 / OBS 071

Assault

Azerbaijan

August 7, 2013

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

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Institute for Peace and Democracy(IPD) about the assault against the son of Ms. MatanatAzizova,Head of the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) and Deputy Director of the IPD, andgrandson of Ms. Mirvari Gahramanly, Head of the Committee to Protect Oil Industry Workers’ Rights.

According to the informationreceived, in the evening of July 19, 2013, two men came up to Mr. Jamal Azizov,17 year-old, as he was near his house. They took him rudely by his shoulder,and reportedly “advised” him to tell his mother and grandmother - namely Ms.Matanat Azizova and Ms. Mirvari Gahramanly - “how to speak in the press”.Allegedly, they threatened to cut his tongue off to silence his mother.Finally, they beat the boy black and blue on his shoulder and neck.

TheObservatory condemns the assault against Mr. Jamal Azizov as well as thealleged threats against Ms. Matanat Azizova and Ms. Mirvari Gahramanly, andfears they are an attempt to silence the two women’sefforts to report on human rights violations. Recently, Ms. Gahramanly has indeedpublished several articles and interviews about the violation ofwomen’s rights and sexual harassment within the State Oil Company,and Ms. Azizova has gathered information for IPD about the violation ofproperty rights by Baku executive power and the State Oil Company.

Accordingly,the Observatory calls upon the authorities of Azerbaijan to order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation intothose events in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before acivil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal sanctions provided bythe law.

Backgroundinformation:

In November 2012, after Zerkalonewspaper released an interview of Ms. Matanat Azizova about human traffickingin Azerbaijan, Ms. Azizova was assaulted and beat up by an unknown man at theentrance of her house. The mass media gave a wide coverage to this event. As aconsequence, the first Deputy Minister Vilayyet Eyvazov met with Ms. Azizovaand promised to order a thorough investigation of the case, saying that thecase was under control of the Minister of Internal Affairs. However, despite afew investigative experiments and the photofit of an assaulter, the case hasremained unsolved.

Moreover, although Ms. Azizovainitially wanted to lodge a complaint to the police following the recent attackagainst her son and to denounce the impunity following her previous assault,she finally renounced doing so after she was told by the investigator who hadthe responsibility to conduct the investigation into the assault against her in2012 that he had never investigated the said assault.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Azerbaijan urging them to:


i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical andpsychological integrity of Ms. Matanat Azizova, Ms. Mirvari Gahramanly, their relatives as wellas of all human rights defenders andtheir families in Azerbaijan;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, effective andimpartial investigation into the above-mentioned events in order to identifyall those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartialtribunal and apply the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment against allhuman rights defenders in Azerbaijan;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration onHuman Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United NationsGeneral Assembly, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right,individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realizationof human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and internationallevels”,

- Article 12.1, which foresees that “everyone has the right,individually and in association with others, to participate in peacefulactivities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

- and its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take allnecessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities ofeveryone, individually and in association with others, against any violence,threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure orany other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exerciseof the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

v. Guarantee the respect of human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Azerbaijan.

Addresses:

· Mr.Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Office of the Presidentof the Republic of Azerbaijan, 19 Istiqlaliyyat St., Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan,Fax: +994 12 492 06 25, +994 412 92 28 68, E-mail: office@pa.gov.az, office@apparat.gov.az

· Mr. Ramil Usubov, Minister ofInternal Affairs of the Azerbaijani Republic, Ministry of Internal Affairs, 7 Azerbaijan ave., AZ 1001, Baku, Azerbaijan. Fax: + 994 12 492 45 90. Email: info@mia.gov.az

· H.E. Mr. MuradN. Najafbayli, Ambassador, PermanentMission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations in Geneva, Route des Fayards 237, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 901 18 44. E-mail: geneva@mission.mfa.gov.az

· H.E. Mr. Fuad Isgandarov, Ambassador, Mission of the Republicof Azerbaijan to the European Union, Avenue Moliere 464, 1050 Brussels,Belgium. Fax: +32 2 345 91 58. Email: office@azembassy.be

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

***

Geneva-Paris, August 7, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appealin your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protectionof Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their timeof need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and faxOMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and faxFIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80

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