Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2002 - Azerbaijan

Legal proceedings against Dr. Altay14

On 12th October 2002, Dr. Ilqar Altay, an independent medical expert employed by Azerbaijan International University and a member of the enquiry Commission set up by the Federation of Human Rights Organisations of Azerbaijan, took part in a television debate with government officials. During the debate he criticised the official version of the events that occurred in the village of Nardaran on 3rd June 2002, when police stepped in to suppress a protest demonstration; one civilian was killed and twelve were wounded.

At a press conference on 17th October, Dr. Altay reported on the preliminary conclusions of the commission and denounced the actions of the security services. Summoned to report to the director of the serious crimes investigation department on 22nd October, Dr. Altay was charged with obstructing the official inquiry, for which he is liable to a sentence of three years' imprisonment under Article 310 of the Criminal Code. The director in question had also taken part in the 12th October TV debate on ANS-TV.

Also in October, the rector of the university called in Dr. Altay and informed him that his publications in the media constituted political activity and were liable to cause him trouble. He asked Dr. Altay to consider whether he wanted to continue his political activities or keep his job. A week later, the rector told him he was dismissed. On 11th November, the rector informed him that the dismissal decision was definitive.

Smear campaign against NGOs

In September 2002, the head of the Presidential administration was interviewed by a journalist following NGO mobilisation to denounce the police violence in Nardaran on 3rd June and demand redress. He accused human rights defenders of failing in their role and duty and the NGOs of using the events to "pose as champions of equity".

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

14. See Open letter to the President of the Republic, 25 October 2002.


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