New report brings data about politically motivated administrative arrests in Azerbaijan

Foto: Meydan TV

The number of people arrested in Baku is also higher than in the regions.

According to the new report of the Institute of Democratic Initiatives (IDI) entitled “Monitoring of politically motivated administrative arrests in Azerbaijan (2020-2021)”, in 2020-2021, 88 people were administratively arrested on the basis of political motives in Azerbaijan. 58 of those arrests took place in 2020, and 30 in 2021.

Which parties had members arrested?

The report states that 57 members of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), three members of the ADR Party, two members of the NIDA Civic Movement, two members of the Musavat Party, eight social activists, six journalists from various media organizations or independent journalists were among those arrested. At the same time, nine members of religious institutions and two people from other categories were arrested.

Areas where detainees live

IDI notes that during the analyzed years, 60 people in Baku city and Absheron, and 25 people in the regions were arrested for political reasons. 

Methodology of the report

The methodology used by IDI in the report is based on the interpretation of the Code of Administrative Offenses (ACC), international and regional conventions that Azerbaijan is a supporter of, as well as reports of local and international organizations.

The authors of the document note that administrative detention is regulated by international documents and local legislation as a restriction of the right to freedom. From the perspective of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the most important document is the European Convention on Human Rights and its Article 5.

In addition, the organization employed methods of media monitoring and interview with affected people.

“Administrative arrests are widespread in Azerbaijan”

According to the report, despite the fact that legislation rules for its application in exceptional cases, the wide spread and mass application of administrative detentions in Azerbaijan revealed the importance of preparing a report on this topic.

Even though the authors of the report could not obtain the exact statistics of the administrative arrests, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Justice for 2021, up to 5,700 people who obstructed the execution of decisions and did not fulfill the legal requirements of executive officers were brought to administrative responsibility, and more than 3,300 people were arrested administratively.

As a result of the enforced enforcement measures, more than 2,600 debtors who have executed court decisions on alimony, money demand and other payments have been banned from leaving the country.

“Although there are more administrative arrests during the pandemic, there are no uniform statistics on this. It is also impossible to get accurate information about how many administrative arrests are politically motivated. No generalized statistics are disclosed in this direction. However, if we look at the information given by the members of the political party and movement, we can clearly see that there are other interests behind the administrative arrests”, explains IDI.

The reality of the information in the report

IDI states that it is impossible to affirm that the information in the report fully reflects reality, once it seems impossible to obtain accurate statistics of all administrative arrests, including politically motivated administrative arrests, with the available data.

As a result of the investigation, it was determined that activists are subject to administrative arrest for their social and political activities. These administrative arrests are mainly aimed at restricting the freedom of expression and free assembly, preventing people from sharing their opinions, especially criticisms of the activities of state institutions during the pandemic.

It was determined that the arrests were used as a means of political pressure, especially articles 535.1 (intentionally disobeying the legal order of a police officer) and 211.1 (violation of the anti-epidemic regime, sanitary-hygiene and quarantine regimes) of the Code of Administrative Offenses.

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