Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: ICJ intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights in a case concerning restrictions of lawyer’s rights

September 26, 2018

International Commission of Jurists

Today, the ICJ has presented a third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in Alayif Hasan oglu Hasanov v. Azerbaijan case.

In its submissions, the ICJ stresses that, while lawyers must perform their professional functions in conformity with ethical standards, the systems and procedures in respect of conditions of service, including in respect of admission to the profession and discipline, must not enforce such obligations in a way that impairs the exercise of human rights by lawyers or their capacity to effectively represent their clients.

The ICJ presented the submissions based on the jurisprudence of this Court as well as international standards governing the legal profession.

In particular, the submission addressed permissible restrictions of lawyers’ rights to respect for private (including professional) life under article 8 ECHR and to freedom of expression under article 10 ECHR, as well as the procedural safeguards required to apply such restrictions under article 6 ECHR.

https://www.icj.org/azerbaijan-icj-intervenes-before-the-european-court-of-human-rights-in-a-case-concerning-restrictions-of-lawyers-rights/

https://www.echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=home

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/oral-statement-on-upr-outcome-2/

https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/view/-/asset_publisher/ugj3i6qSEkhZ/content/commissioner-mijatovic-intervenes-before-the-european-court-of-human-rights-in-the-case-of-emin-huseynov-v-azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Intigam Aliyev c. Azerbaïdjan (CEDH)

le 20 septembre, 2018

Un avocat et défenseur des droits de l’homme accusé d’exploitation d’entreprise illégale, de détournement de fonds et de fraude fiscale, fait condamner 5 fois l’Azerbaïdjan.

(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 20/09/18)

Dépêches JurisClasseur – Actualités

Mercredi 26 Septembre 2018

Public 26-09-2018 Acharnement judiciaire contre un avocat militant des droits de l’homme La CEDH a jugé le 20 septembre 2018 que la détention d’un avocat défenseur des droits de l’homme accusé d’exploitation d’entreprise illégale, de détournement de fonds et de fraude fiscale visait à le réduire au silence et à le punir pour ses activités. Elle ne poursuivait aucun des buts légitimes prévus par la Convention EDH. Le parquet général d’Azerbaïdjan a ouvert une enquête contre l’un de ses ressortissants, un avocat. L’enquête porte sur des irrégularités présumées dans les activités financières d’un certain nombre d’organisations non gouvernementales, dont l’association du ressortissant visé par l’enquête. Des poursuites pénales furent engagées contre ce dernier pour exploitation d’entreprise illégale, fraude fiscale de grande ampleur et abus de pouvoir aggravé. Il est arrêté et placé en détention. Tous ses recours contre sa mise en détention furent écartés. Son domicile ainsi que le bureau qu’il occupait dans son association furent perquisitionnés et divers documents et objets furent saisis, dont des dossiers concernant des requêtes introduites devant la Cour. Les tribunaux internes rejetèrent les plaintes de l’intéressé selon lesquelles ces mesures étaient illégales. ll fut reconnu coupable et condamné à une peine de prison, avant d’être libéré. Il a introduit une requête devant la CEDH. Son procès fait l’objet d’une requête distincte. L’avocat azerbaïdjanais a soulevé plusieurs violations de la Convention EDH. Il a allégué que son état de santé était incompatible avec la détention et qu’il avait été privé de soins médicaux appropriés pendant son placement en détention (article 2 sur droit à la vie et article 3 sur l’interdiction des traitements inhumains et dégradants) ; s’est plaint de ses conditions de détention et de transfert vers le tribunal ; conteste la perquisition de son domicile et de son bureau (article 8 sur le droit au respect de la vie privée et familiale) ; considère que son arrestation et sa détention avaient porté atteinte à son droit découlant de l’article 11 (liberté de réunion et d’association) ; affirme que ses droits avaient été restreints à des fins autres que celles prévues par la Convention (article 18 sur la limitation de l’usage des restrictions aux droits). Dans son arrêt de chambre, la CEDH a estimé qu’il y a eu : – violation de l’article 3 (interdiction de la torture) de la Convention EDH relativement aux conditions de la détention provisoire du requérant, et non-violation de l’article 3 relativement aux soins qui lui ont été prodigués en détention et aux conditions de sa détention ultérieure ; – violation de l’article 5 § 1 (droit à la liberté et à la sûreté) du fait de l’absence de raisons plausibles de le soupçonner d’avoir commis une infraction pénale pour justifier sa détention ; – violation de l’article 5 § 4 (contrôle de la détention) à raison de l’absence de contrôle juridictionnel adéquat de la légalité de sa détention ; – violation de l’article 8 (droit au respect de la vie privée et des communications) du fait de la perquisition de son bureau et de son domicile ; – violation de l’article 18 (limitation de l’usage des restrictions aux droits) en ce que la Cour estime que les mesures prises contre le requérant visaient à le réduire au silence et à le punir pour ses activités de défense des droits de l’homme et ne poursuivaient aucun des buts légitimes prévus par la Convention. La Cour juge en particulier que cette affaire s’inscrit dans une « tendance troublante à l’arrestation et à la détention arbitraires de personnes critiques du gouvernement, de militants de la société civile et de défenseurs des droits de l’homme ». Elle appelle le Gouvernement à adopter des mesures pour protéger ces personnes en veillant à ce qu’elles ne fassent plus l’objet de poursuites en représailles à leurs activités ni d’un recours abusif au droit pénal.

Sources : CEDH, 20 sept. 2018, n° 68762/14, A. c. Azerbaïdjan

https://www.dalloz-actualite.fr/flash/violation-des-droits-d-un-avocat-defenseur-des-droits-de-l-homme#.W7YPB2gzbIU

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-186126   (ENGLISH)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-intigam-aliyev (ENGLISH)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intiqam_Aliyev (ENGLISH)

https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/30563/ (ENGLISH)

http://oc-media.org/echr-rules-jailing-of-azerbaijani-rights-lawyer-politically-motivated/ (ENGLISH)

Azerbaijan: Statement in Support of Azerbaijani Human Rights Lawyer Elchin Sadigov

September 17, 2018

Civil Rights Defenders and International Partnership for Human Rights are gravely concerned to hear of new disciplinary proceeding launched against the Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov by the Bar Association of Azerbaijan. The proceedings are the latest step in the Azerbaijani state’s campaign to deny a livelihood to any lawyers willing to take politically sensitive cases and to dismantle protections for civil society in general.

The proceedings were launched at the request of a deputy prosecutor, who had removed Sadigov from the case of Yunus Safarov, a Russian citizen accused of the attempted murder of the head of the Ganja city executive authority. According to the prosecutor’s claim, Sadigov advised his client to manufacture claims of torture and inhumane treatment in order to create grounds for a case for the European Court of Human Rights.

The complaint seems to be based on confidential attorney-client discussions, apparently obtained through extralegal surveillance, and states the prosecutor “could not find any proof about the allegations about the inhuman treatment and torture [of Safarov].” As photographs of Safarov’s bloodied body circulated on social media shortly after his arrest in July, the independent media outlet Meydan TV quoted several sources naming the specific individuals who allegedly tortured Safarov, and the Azerbaijani justice system has a well-documented and long history of systemic torture and ill-treatment, the allegations are clearly ungrounded.

Following the recent disbarment or suspension of the other prominent human rights lawyers Yalchin Imanov, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, Asabali Mustafayev, Irada Javadova, and Nemat Kerimli, Sadigov’s suspension or removal from the bar would leave the country of 10 million people with only five active human rights lawyers.

https://crd.org/2018/09/17/statement-in-support-of-azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-elchin-sadigov/

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/azerbaijan/statement-in-support-of-azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-elchin

https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/lawyer-elchin-sadigov-reports-being-threatened-and-harassed/

http://oc-media.org/azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-emin-aslan-jailed-for-30-days/

https://iwpr.net/global-voices/inside-azerbaijans-prisons-anatomy-corruption

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/azerbaijan-upr-report-consideration-24th-meeting-39th-regular-session-human-rights-council/5837555997001/?term#t=42m15s

🇦🇿Watch new video. 20 Sep 2018 – As Azerbaijan underwent its 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle, and the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Azerbaijan’s UPR outcomes, the International Bar Association‘s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expressed concerns related to the lack of independence of lawyers in the country. The IBAHRI is particularly concerned by the ongoing harassment of lawyers working on human rights cases.

During the Azerbaijan UPR, the IBAHRI urged the Government of Azerbaijan to end the harassment of lawyers and ensure that the principle of independence of the legal profession is im.plemented in practice. A number of lawyers who have faced attacks were named including: 𝐘𝐚𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐯, disbarred for raising the issue of torture of his imprisoned client; and 𝐍𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐭 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐥𝐢 whose lawyer’s licence was suspended because of the critical statements he made to the media concerning a case on which he was working. 𝐄𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐚𝐝𝐲𝐠𝐨𝐯 was also mentioned because his confidential conversation with his client was surreptitiously taped, and then moves were made to use the content against him when the Azerbaijani Prosecution addressed the Azerbaijani Bar Association with a request to consider his lawyer’s licence.

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 21/09/18)

Ukraine/Kazakhstan/Russia/Moldova: Defence for the defenders: Lawyers and attorneys under attack for participation in politically motivated cases

June 29, 2018

The right to defence is one of the fundamental human rights that is enshrined in a number of international agreements. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the principle of equality of all before the law, the presumption of innocence, and the right to be examined openly and with all the requirements of justice by an independent and impartial court.

In order to exercise their right to defence, prosecuted persons must have full access to legal services provided by independent lawyers and attorneys. According to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, everyone has the right to ask any lawyer for help in defending their rights and protecting them at all stages of criminal proceedings.

According to the opinion of the European Court of Human Rightslawyers play a key role in maintaining public confidence in the judicial system and act as intermediaries between the public and courts. Thus, they are an important element of the rule of law.

As noted in paragraph 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions in an environment free from intimidation and improper interference. Also, lawyers shall not be prosecuted or sanctioned for any acts committed as part of their professional duties.

Unfortunately, in countries where democratic institutions are poorly developed and the rule of law does not work, lawyers and attorneys often become victims of persecution as well as various kinds of pressure and restrictions. This especially concerns those who participate in politically motivated cases.

Lawyers and attorneys are attacked both by state institutions and authorities and by various criminals, against which the state is unable to protect them. This prosecution also involves professional associations that proclaim their aim to protect the rights and interests of lawyers, but are not independent of state bodies.

At the moment, there are no effective mechanisms for monitoring the interference of the state and other entities in the activities of lawyers and attorneys. The solution could consist of adopting a special document that would protect lawyers and attorneys at the international level.

The statutory goals of the Open Dialog Foundation provide for the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet space. This report examines cases of harassment and attacks on lawyers and attorneys in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine,and Turkey. The latter is not a post-Soviet state, but it is a member of the Council of Europe and therefore has international obligations in the field of standards of law, democratic development, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

https://en.odfoundation.eu/a/8707,defence-for-the-defenders-lawyers-and-attorneys-under-attack-for-participation-in-politically-motivated-cases

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Poland/Tajikistan/Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan/ Russia/Belarus: Next target: legal profession, HDIM side event, Warsaw

September 10, 2018

The legal profession plays a crucial role in ensuring access to justice for all, transparency and accountability of the state, Rule of law and the respect for human rights.

 

Yet, instead of being perceived as a vital player to the justice sector, today lawyers are often targeted by the governments in many OSCE countries for seeking truth and justice. As a result, lawyers often face high risks of persecution, harassment as well as severe sanctions for doing their job.

This side-event aims to specifically discuss the situation of lawyers in Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The discussion will extend to consider the latest developments related to the rights of lawyers and their independence in the respective countries, and what impact this has on the overall rule of law and human rights situation.

This side event will take place on 12 September 2018, from 13.00 -15.00 at Hotel Bristol, Warsaw

Moderator: Jurate Guzeviciute, Programme Lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Presentations and Discussions:

Independence of the legal profession and harassment of lawyers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

https://www.icj.org/next-target-legal-profession-hdim-side-event-warsaw/

Azerbaijan: Left without a defence: Azerbaijan’s purge of human rights lawyers

August 30, 2018

Changes to the leadership and rules surrounding Azerbaijan’s Bar Association have left a number of prominent human rights lawyers unable to practice their trade. Independent journalists and opposition politicians say they are being left defenceless against political prosecutions, with one prominent human rights defender claiming just six lawyers now represent 150 political prisoners.

Freelance journalist Aynur Elgunash sued Azerbaijan’s Bar Association after they expelled her lawyer, Yalchin Imanov. Elgunash was repeatedly summoned for questioning as part of an investigation into journalists from Meydan TV, and she was eventually handed a travel ban. Before being disbarred, Imanov defended her both in interviews with police and in the courts. Now, the journalist has been left without a lawyer.

‘I need my lawyer’, Elgunash told OC Media, ‘in protest against the removal of my lawyer from the Bar Association, I appealed to Baku Administrative Economic Court No 1, but my complaint was dismissed’. The case is now being heard in the Court of Appeals.

Elgunash said the Bar Association offered her another lawyer. ‘I didn’t want that’, she said, ‘because I don’t trust any other lawyers. In today’s situation, the number of attorneys in the political process is minimal’.

According to Elgunash, the vast majority of lawyers are afraid to properly represent clients in political cases, so they take part as brokers only.

‘I’m against it. I can only trust people who won’t lead me in the wrong direction’, Elgunash said.

In past years, politically motivated disbarment was a relatively rare occurrence. With notable exceptions such as rights lawyers Aslan Ismayilov, Khalid Bagirov, Elchin Namazov, and Muzaffar Bakhish, all expelled from practising law.

In recent months, however, the crackdown has intensified, with a number of lawyers defending political activists and journalists facing disciplinary action by the Bar Association.

Imanov, whose clients have also included renowned investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova among others, was disbarred in November 2017. Irada Javadova, who criticised the association for disbarring Yalchin Imanov was disbarred in June. Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, Asabali Mustafayev, and Nemat Karimli, who all defended prominent journalists and opposition figures were given year-long suspensions.

http://oc-media.org/left-without-a-defence-azerbaijans-purge-of-human-rights-lawyers/

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/what-happened-to-azerbaijans-lawyers/88538

Azerbaijan: What Happened to Azerbaijan’s Lawyers?

What Happened to Azerbaijan’s Lawyers?

The former Soviet republic is sorely in need of more independently minded attorneys.

When Khalid Bagirov, a prominent defense lawyer in Azerbaijan, was disbarred in 2015 while working a case involving a political activist, it was yet another cause for alarm. How so? The Caucasian country of nearly 10 million is full of bureaucracy — where lawyers typically flourish — so it should be teeming with others like him. As it turns out, every attorney counts in the former Soviet republic, where the legal profession finds itself confronting a government determined to clamp down on its numbers and redefine its role in society.

Based on figures from the Azerbaijani Bar Association (ABA):

AZERBAIJAN HAS ROUGHLY ONE BAR-APPROVED LAWYER FOR EVERY 10,000 CITIZENS — THE LOWEST RATE IN EUROPE.

The ABA says it has 1,503 members on the books, the majority of which — 806 — are located in Baku, the capital city. That’s compared to roughly 10 lawyers per 10,000 citizens in neighboring Georgia and around 38 attorneys per 10,000 people in the U.S. Even Azeri officials are concerned about the low ratio. Recently, the ABA moved to boost the legal headcount.

These days, that low statistic is more significant than it used to be. Prior to this year, non-bar attorneys were free to practice all manner of non-criminal law. Insiders estimate there are 250,000 civil and administrative cases currently open, almost all of which have traditionally been handled by non-bar lawyers while their counterparts focused on criminal proceedings. But a new law enacted in January effectively stripped them of those privileges — now only bar-approved members are allowed inside a courtroom.

 

Government supporters insist the new measure is aimed at boosting the quality of Azerbaijan’s legal system — but critics beg to differ. Instead, they believe it’s about the government keeping closer tabs on the legal profession more broadly, part of what Amnesty International says is Azerbaijan’s descent “deeper into the abyss of rightlessness.”

Bagirov knows firsthand. Temporarily disbarred twice before, he was kicked out of the ABA for good in 2015 after defending an opposition politician who planned to challenge Azerbaijan’s iron-fisted president, Ilham Aliyev, at the ballot box. Bagirov’s dismissal reflects what he describes as a broader hostile work environment for independent lawyers, which includes both personal and professional harassment. “The goal in authoritarian regimes is to monopolize control over all spheres of life,” Bagirov says. “That’s how our authoritarian regime is trying to control legal activity: to monopolize it all.”

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/what-happened-to-azerbaijans-lawyers/88538

http://en.apa.az/azerbaijan-politics/domestic-news/number-of-lawyers-exceeds-1-500-in-azerbaijan.html