Instructive punishment of participants of the action on Heydar Aliyev Avenue

Baku/18.02.22/Turan: A criminal case has been initiated against truck drivers who blocked Heydar Aliyev Avenue in protest under the Article 233 (Organization of actions that contribute to the violation of public order or active participation in such actions), which provides for imprisonment for up to 3 years.

On February 17, truck drivers blocking the road on Heydar Aliyev Avenue in the capital protested against Anar Rzayev, head of the Azerbaijan Land Transport Agency (ANTA), and Malik Aliyev, head of the traffic control department, who did not want to issue them permits for international transportation. The protesters claimed that this state structure, abusing its powers, extorts additional fees for permits.

Later there was a message that Anar Rzayev was warned and Malik Aliyev was fired, but these reports were soon refuted. Instead, the head of the company that owned the protesting drivers and trucks was detained. Human rights activists Rufat Safarov and Zaur Akbar, who came to the Narimanov district police department to protect the rights of the protesters, were detained and beaten.

Rufat Safarov, a human rights activist and co-founder of the human rights organization Line of Defense, spoke about these incidents in the “Difficult Question” program. According to him, today in Azerbaijan it is de facto forbidden to hold any protest actions with social demands.

“I'm not talking about the possibility of holding actions with political demands. But the drivers who held a peaceful protest did not and did not have any political ambitions. These people only demand that their rights as entrepreneurs be respected,” the human rights activist said.

Rufat Safarov noted that on the fact of blocking the road in the Main Department of the Traffic Police of Baku, a criminal case has been launched under the Article  233 (Organization of actions that contribute to the violation of public order or active participation in such actions), which provides for imprisonment for up to 3 years.

“And most likely, an extreme measure of restraint will be chosen in relation to drivers - arrest. Obviously, this is done for the purpose of edification - to intimidate citizens so that they do not dare to defend their rights,” Safarov said.

According to him, due to the fact that these people used their constitutional right, the right to assemble, the police attacked their homes (in the village of Khirdalan). “More than 10 operatives in civilian clothes used violence against women and children. Later, the policemen returned and dismantled the surveillance cameras to cover up the atrocities they had committed,” the human rights activist said.

Safarov told how they were treated at the Narimanov district police department, where they introduced themselves and reported the reason for their arrival.

“But, despite this, they twisted our hands, began to humiliate us in every possible way, insulting us with obscene words, then Zaur was knocked down and started kicking. All this did not prevent the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from stating that our allegations about the beating are not true,” Safarov said. According to Rauf Safarov, he and Zaur Akper intend to file a complaint with the Narimanov Prosecutor's Office for the illegal actions of the police.—0—

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