Azerbaijan: Authorities choose repression over respecting fundamental rights

Azeri authorities reverted to brutal force as a peaceful demonstration against lack of democracy and economic reforms was dispersed in Baku on October 19, 2019.

Numerous videos of police attacking and beating people with batons, and violently dragging them to police cars have been published online. Downtown Baku was turned into a special operation zone, with several metro stations closed, and mobile phone and internet networks shut down. The protest was organized by coalition of opposition parties and other civil society representatives, including group protesting gender violence.

Authorities are again attempting to stifle legitimate peaceful protests and assert control by force and repression


Olga Shamshur Flydal, senior advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Dozens of demonstrators were detained and mistreated. Among them is the leader of the opposition People’s Front, Ali Karimli, who reports being severely beaten while in custody. Excessive police force against women-demonstrators who came on Sunday to draw attention to gender violence, is particularly aggravating, given governments claims of commitment to gender equality. At least ten activists and senior opposition politicians had been pre-emptively detained already days before the protest.

“The Azerbaijani authorities give no possibility to its citizens to enter into the dialogue and express their grievances peacefully. The government should immediately release those detained, open an impartial investigation into police behavior and ensure the right to freedom of assembly,” said Flydal.

On 7th of November the prominent civil society actors in the country adopted appeal to the UN Committee Against Torture and to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment regarding police brutality during these events. Read the appeal here

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