Friday Wrap-up: March 8, refuse to open a criminal case and a public activist detained

Illustration of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev’s arrest. Source: Meydan TV

The week of March 7-11 saw the International Women’s Day rally in Baku, a district prosecutor’s office refusing to open a criminal case on a journalist’s complaint and public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev violently detained by the police.

“March 8 – we can not be thirsty”: International Women’s Day parade in Baku

On March 8, the Azerbaijani Feminist Movement organized an action in the Fountain Square in the center of Baku, named “March 8 – we can not be thirsty“. The theme of the protest this year was the growing domestic violence cases against women in Azerbaijan, and the lack of investigation thereof.

Although a large number of police forces were involved in the protest, they did not intervene, as in previous years. Participants marched through the central streets chanting feminist songs and slogans.

In the end, a statement was read asking for effective measures to prevent violence and killings against women to be taken by the Azerbaijani government. 

Journalist’s complaint about police violence will not be investigated

The Sabail District Prosecutor’s Office has refused to open a criminal case on journalist Nargiz Absalamova’s complaint about police violence

The journalist says that she was physically assaulted by police, which resulted in a fall and a broken bone,  during a protest on December against the adoption of the draft law “On Media”.  According to her, one of the policemen who broke up the protest grabbed her by the throat, slapped her in the face, and pushed her down. After the incident, Absalamova went to the hospital, where an examination revealed that she had broken a bone. 

The prosecutor’s office did not take into account Absalamova’s medical documents and claims no injuries have been inflicted to her. The journalist will appeal to a superior court to overturn this decision.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev: “I was kept on my knees for hours at the police station, being insulted”

Public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, who tried to hold a rally in front of the Interior Ministry on March 9, was detained. Police officers attacked the activist’s car, broke the window and took him away. The events were broadcast live on Hajiyev’s Facebook account.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was detained at the Baku Main Police Office for five hours, until late at night. He told Meydan TV that he was insulted, threatened and tortured at the Baku Main Police Department and showed the injuries in his body.

The Interior Ministry claimed that police officers prevented a protest action, in which Hajiyev would set himself and the Ministry’s building on fire, with the car’s gasoline. He denied the allegations, adding that he will be examined for torture signs.

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