Bolton urged to raise human rights with Azeri officials

As President Trump's National Security advisor, John Bolton, is on his way to the Caucasus, rights group Amnesty International USA is calling on the administration to demand Azerbaijani officials cease their human rights abuses.

Amnesty, which has documented how Azerbaijani authorities routinely violate freedom of expression and jail critics, believes that the government controls all major media outlets and has used a combination of legislation and outright violence to intimidate human rights defenders. "Individuals detained by Azerbaijani authorities face unfair trials and are prevented from mounting a fair defense. Some of detainees have died in custody."

"We have seen how this administration"s pressure on Azerbaijan can yield positive human rights outcomes. When the Azerbaijan government ordered the arrest of journalist Mehman Aliyev in 2017, the DOS strongly condemned the arrest. Azerbaijani authorities subsequently moved Mr. Aliyev to house arrest and later dropped all charges against him," reads the letter that Amnesty sent to the White House on Oct 19.

The authors recommend that Bolton raise the following human rights issues in your discussions with senior Azerbaijani officials:"

* Call for the immediate and unconditional release of Afgan Mukhtarli: In May 2017 Mr. Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani investigative journalist, vanished from Tbilisi, Georgia and later reappeared in custody in Azerbaijan. He reports that he was abducted by plain-clothed security services who tied him up and transported him across the border to Azerbaijan. In January 2018 he was sentenced to a six-year term in prison. According to recent media reports, Mr. Mukhtarli was placed in a "punishment cell" and left outside in the rain in retaliation for visiting a medical unit to seek treatment without permission. Amnesty International has recognized Mukhtarli as a "prisoner of conscience" and is campaigning for his release.

* Press for reinstatement of disbarred Azerbaijani Human Rights Lawyers: Human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan are subject to routine harassment and disbarment. In a December 2017 amendment to the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure, the Azerbaijan government barred human rights attorneys from attending court proceedings unless they are members of the Bar Association of Azerbaijan. The Bar Association of Azerbaijan has limited the bar to only 934 attorneys, most of whom refuse to take on politically sensitive cases. Consequently the Bar Association has few, if any, human rights lawyers. In practice, these measures all but guarantee that accused persons cannot obtain a fair trial. We urge you to press Azerbaijan to repeal the amendment and to immediately reinstate those attorneys who have been disbarred for defending human rights activists.

* Request a resumption of the Democracy and Human Rights Dialogue: The dialogue, initiated in 2006, aimed to increase Azerbaijan"s respect for human rights. The meetings continued over time until they were ended at Baku"s request under the Obama administration. Resuming a robust government-to-government human rights dialogue is an essential step in encouraging the Azerbaijani government to address the deteriorating human rights situation.

Bolton is expected to arrive in Baku on October 22.

A.Raufoglu

Washington

Leave a review

Politics

İran Prezidentinin həlak olduğu hadisə Azərbaycan- İran münasibətlərinə təsir edə bilərmi? – Nəsimi Məmmədli Çətin sualda



Follow us on social networks

News Line