Brussels, 3 December 2021
EaP CSF Steering Committee statement on the disproportionately violent response of the authorities to the recent demonstrations in Baku, Azerbaijan
The EaP CSF Steering Committee decisively condemns the disproportionately violent response of the police during the protest in Baku on December 1 and restrictions on the freedom of assembly guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 1 December, around 50 citizens, mostly women, civil society members, youth activists, and members of the political parties gathered to raise their voices against the unlawful detention of political prisoners, namely Saleh Rustamli, who has been on a hunger strike over the last 26 days.
The peaceful rally turned out to be violently dispersed by the police force. The eyewitness accounts describe the brutal interference by dozens of police officers, which resulted in many protesters being injured, detained and arrested.
One of the leaders of the Musavat party, Tofig Yagublu, was severely beaten in the police car and at the police station #39, in Sabail district. Another participant of rally, member of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), Pasha Dadashzade also was severely beaten, and his right arm broken. The total number of arrests on various grounds amounts to 40.
The EaP CSF Steering Committee calls on the government of Azerbaijan to respect the constitutional rights of the citizens, namely article 49 that guarantees freedom of assembly, as well as its international obligations, namely article 21 of the UN’s International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protecting the freedom of assembly. All citizens detained on politically motivated criminal charges and administrative charges in connection to those two rallies should be released immediately.
The EaP CSF Steering Committee calls on the government of Azerbaijan to condemn such an excessive use of force and inhumane treatment of the citizens and demands the government to hold the police officers involved accountable.
The EaP CSF Steering Committee also calls upon the European Council and the European External Action Service to raise questions about the authorities’ commitment to protecting and enhancing political freedoms for all.
Members of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum