Azerbaijan cannot be a partner of the European Union

June 17, 2021 in the European Parliament at the meetings of two committees :

Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus was a discussion of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, and this participants took part in the discussions:

Follow-up to the EU-Azerbaijan Human Rights Dialogue of 26 April 2021, in the presence of :

– Leyla Yunus, 2014 Sakharov Prize nominee

– Philippe Dam, Advocacy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights Watch

– – EEAS representative (TBC)

The text of Leyla Yunus ‘ speech:

Violations of the human rights and democratic freedoms continue in Azerbaijan. In recent years, the situation became even more dramatic. Political prisoners are proof to that. Two months ago, there were 111 political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Now, there are 121. Political prisoners are divided into 7 groups.

There is a group of 7 journalists and bloggers, who were convicted on bogus charges for criticizing authorities, and mainly President Ilham Aliyev. At our Institute for Peace and Democracy website, we have a number of legal studies of the trials. Those studies show that innocent people were sentenced on trumped up charges. They were deprived  of their liberty under unlawful and groundless sentences.

Another group includes believers. The repression against peaceful believers  is ongoing problem in Azerbaijan. Currently, there are 19 persons in this group. The beatings, unjustified long terms sentences (17-20 years of imprisonment) only lead to the forced radicalization of peaceful believers. This can be very dangerous for future of my country, Azerbaijan. 

The worst crime of the Aliyev’s regime, in recent years, is Terter case. In 2017, there were around 2000 people arrested. Among them, were mainly military personnel in Terter region. Based to information, IPD gathered, in May 2017, the investigation of Military Procurator’s Office in Terter region, in Azerbaijan, killed 11 Azeri citizens under torture.

We have the names of these 11 men and dates, when they were arrested and buried. Tortures usually lasted several days. But, it took only few hours, to beat Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev to death.

Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was arrested in the morning, on May 16, 2017. His body was given out, same day, in the evening. Innocent life was brutally cut short.

OMCT made a special statement on Terter case, this April.

But Azerbaijani authorities hide this terrible crime. Our Institute for Peace and Democracy has information about 27 citizens sentenced to long term prison sentences (from 7 to 20 years).However, their number is above 78 people. All trials took place in closed military courts.

IPD’s lawyers, received documents from the four Terter trials, and made their analyses. The legal examination of those four trials, show that totally innocent people received  from 7 to 20 years prison sentences on trumped up charges.

Please, give your attention to this horrible Terter case. Ilham Aliyev hide it. 

The most regrettable is the group of Life Term Sentenced , 14 people. They are in prison since 1994-1995. They were recognized as political prisoners by experts of Council of Europe, when Azerbaijan was just joining CoE. However, a quarter of century later, they are still behind bars. And their number only  decreased, because some died, in prison.

Azerbaijani reality – Political repressions, torture, and murder caused by torture.

There is still no independent judicial system in Azerbaijan. All judges follow the instructions from the President’s Office. And if judge, decides not to follow the instructions, he is immediately ceased from being judge. This happened to the judge of Baku city, Sabunchi District Court, Samir Talybov.

On April 1, 2020, he made a fair decision and released Aqil Humbatov, who criticized the president on Facebook, from forced placement in a psychiatric hospital.

The next day, Samir Talybov, was called to the presidential office. There, he was asked to write a statement about his voluntary resignation. He did. Within one day, Judicial and Legal Counsel of Azerbaijan, dismissed Samir Talybov from his position of being judge.

Law enforcement officers in Azerbaijan fabricate accusations against critics of government officials, and mainly Ilham Aliyev, and personally torture and murder people.

Since 2014, lawyers who defended the rights of political prisoners, are expelled from the Bar Association. They are Alaif Hasanov, Khalid Bagirov, Yalchin Imanov, Muzafar Bakhyshev and others.

Azerbaijan ignores resolutions of European Parliament. EP adopted a resolution calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all Armenian military prisoners. However, trials on them, began in Baku. Afghan Hajiyev will be their judge. I know him very well. He sentenced me and my husband on bogus charges. And now, there will be another judicial farce.

It is necessary to demand the immediate release of all Armenian military prisoners  and all Azerbaijani political prisoners.

It is necessary to say, that there is no free and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. All members of the parliament of Azerbaijan are appointed as deputies in the presidential apparatus.

There is no independent press in Azerbaijan ( no TV, no newspapers) and freedom of speech is brutally suppressed . Blogger, who write critic status in social network will arrested.

In fact, there are no officially registered independent NGOs in Azerbaijan, no independent human rights defenders. Civil society was crushed in 2014.

Currently, Ilham Aliyev, started suppressing independent voices outside the country. During last two years, we’ve see series of attacks, on political activists and bloggers, living abroad.

On January 29, 2020, Qabil Mammadov (resident of Germany) was attacked and severely beaten by unknown people. They used tear gas against him. At the horrible crime scene, his son was presented. Due to this, he had psychological shock.

This was not the first attack on the critic of Ilham Aliyev, and not the last.

On March 14, this year there was attempt on the life of political emigrant – Muhammad Mirzali. It took place in France, in Nantes. Several unidentified attackers brutally beat, and  stabbed him multiple times, and then fled the scene. He stayed in hospital for several weeks. The newspapers Liberations, Le Monde wrote about this attack.

On June 2, he was attacked again. This time his car was damaged. And a note was left inside. It stated: “You can’t live. You are going to die”.

Unfortunately, there is no attention by Europe to the crimes committed by Aliyev’s regime.

Europe is paying attention to what is happening in Belarus. But you close your eyes to the dictatorship in Azerbaijan. All fundamental rights are violated in Azerbaijan, by Azerbaijan authorities, by Ilham Aliyev.  If you are afraid that Ilham Aliyev will go to Putin,  it will not happen. He needs West, main part of his money is here.