Azerbaijani Activists Appeal to the UN Committee Against Torture
In the face of arbitrary arrests and torture, Azerbaijani civil society activists have appealed to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), asking them to intervene to prevent further violence. The appeal, signed by 21 people, says that in response to peaceful rallies on October 19 and 20, 2019 in Baku the authorities arrested dozens of people, beating and torturing many. The October 19 rally was held by the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), an alliance of opposition political parties in Azerbaijan, to call for free and fair elections as well as the release of political prisoners. The rally the following day, held by a women’s group to protest domestic violence, was also peaceful but met with a similarly brutal response by the authorities. Those arrested and beaten included Ali Karimli, the leader of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) and former Member of Parliament, as well as Tofig Yagublu, board member of the NCDF. Their statement reads in part: “We—Azerbaijani civil society representatives—are witnessing the increase of political persecution and pressure in the country in the last month by various authorities, including law enforcement bodies, against those who are peacefully expressing their political views.” They ask international organizations to respond quickly by visiting places of detention and monitoring the situation on the ground in order to pressure authorities to adhere to international legal standards.
Read the statement here.