July 18, 2019
Yalchin Imanov is the latest of at least two dozen human rights lawyers to have been disbarred, had their licences suspended, been criminally prosecuted or otherwise pressured by the authorities in Azerbaijan.
On 8 August 2017 Yalchin visited his client, Abbas Huseynov, in the high security Gobustan prison and saw bruises all over his body. Mr Huseynov told him that he had been severely tortured by prison officials, including being beaten with batons, dragged on the floor, tied to a metal pole in the yard and held in a solitary confinement with his hands and legs cuffed, over several days. Upon leaving the prison, he was contacted by several media outlets for information about the worrying situation of his client and he described to the media the treatment his client had been subjected to and the bruises he had seen on him.
The next day, Yalchin requested both the Prison Service and the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Mr Huseynov’s torture allegations but no investigation has been conducted to date. In response to his complaint the Prison Service requested the Azerbaijan Bar Association (ABA) to take disciplinary measures against Yalchin for allegedly aiming `to cast shadow over the work and reputation of the state structures` and `to cause disorder` and `tension among some groups of the society`. His licence was suspended by the ABA on 20 November 2017, pending decision of the domestic court on his disbarment.
Yalchin was indefinitely disbarred by the Ganja Administrative Economic Court on 22 February 2019 on the basis of the request from the ABA who claimed that he had damaged `the honour, dignity and business reputation` of the Prison Service by providing information to the media about the torture allegations of his client, convicted in the Nardaran case.