Appeal to the president of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliev

Of the participants of the Civil Society Forum of 9 July 2009 connected to the pressure exercised on young activists to the president of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliev

Copy to Minister of Interior Affairs Ramil Usubov

Mr. President!

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that on 8 July 2009 young Azerbaijan civil society activists Emin Milli, Adnan Hajizade and Orhan Gafarli have been attacked by plain clothed people in the restaurant “Lebanist” in the centre of Baku. The attackers beat up Emil Milli and Adnan Hajizade with the cries “Why do you criticize the government?” and incurred physical injuries of various degrees.After the incident the youngsters were taken over to the Sabail region police department and made to give explanation of the incident. However, the attacked received no medical assistance at the time. This is a violation of the law endangering the health of the attacked.

At the same time, the two people referred to above, despite being the attacked, have been treated as suspects and subjected to 48 hour detainment by the police. Despite persistent demands of the attacked and their friends and family, police investigator Ziya Aliyev would not allow the attacked to meet with their lawyer. Thus, one of the tenet human rights principles – the right to receive legal assistance, as set forth by the article 61 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution, was violated. Violation of this principle is also in contradiction with the Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which envisions the right to “fair judicial investigation”. Under thesetwo legal provisions, the detainment of the two youngsters shall be considered as an invalid measure.

It is unclear if the two attackers of Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade have also been detained or not, and the general public is kept ignorant of the issue. We believe the fact that Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade have been exposed to pressure and detained, despite being attacked, is related to their free expression of their views and active participation in the social and public process and, which is in violation of the article 47 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution on “freedom of expression”.

It shall be mentioned that on 8 July the police used physical force against members of youth organizations, representatives of mass media and non-governmental organizations who gathered in front of the Sabail region police department in connection with the detainment of the above youngsters. Such a restriction represents a contradiction to one of the basic principles of a democratic society - the right for free gathering, envisioned by the article 49 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution and article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

I kindly request of you to detain and administer sanctions against attackers of the active young people Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade; to release the attacked; and to ensure fair judicial investigation.

With regards

Cem Özdemir

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