Azerbaijan occupies a leading position in Europe and the world on the number of prisoners. In 2016, there were 23,111 people in Azerbaijan serving sentences in the form of imprisonment. For every 100,000 people in the country there were 239 prisoners. According to this indicator, Azerbaijan ranks fifth in Europe and 12th in the world. These statistics in the interview to the program Cətin sual (Difficult issue) were brought by the lawyer Javad Javadov.
He drew attention to the fact that in 1993 only 38 percent of convicts were sentenced to imprisonment, but in 2016 this figure increased to 57 percent. This lawyer explained it by the fact that the courts had previously appointed alternative punishments, and in particular in the form of restraint of liberty.
However, according to him, after the parliament recently amended the 300 Articles of the Criminal Code, the number of prisoners has significantly decreased.
For innovations provide for an expansion of the practice of using alternative types of punishment and mitigating punishment. Now the punishment is also being restored in the form of restriction of freedom.
Javadov also pointed to the widespread practice of pre-trial arrests.
That is, courts avoid choosing alternative preventive measures.
Such a preventive measure as bail is not generally applied in Azerbaijan.
The lawyer spoke about the successful application in Georgia the institute the pre-trial agreement of the parties to the prosecution and defense of the Anglo-Saxon legal system after Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in 2004 to .
After that, they began to appoint more alternative types of punishment, not related to imprisonment.
In Azerbaijan, in recent years there has been a trend of toughening of punishment. And only the last 300 amendments to the Criminal Code have become a definite step towards the humanization of legislation, although this is not enough. Among the steps in this direction could be the simplification of the institution of early release. But first of all, it is necessary to eliminate the practice of unreasonable criminal prosecution, the lawyer believes. In addition, many Articles of the Criminal Code can be decriminalized.
“In recent years, we expected to remove from the Criminal Code the Articles “libel” and “insult.” However, on the contrary, they added additional qualifying signs and the punishment was toughened, “Javadov said.
He critically assessed the introduction of Article 168-1 in the Criminal Code, which provides for responsibility for violating the requirements of religious propaganda, rituals and ceremonies.
Javadov also called for the restoration of the juridical institutions in the legislation. In his opinion, this institution can be effective in the framework of true fair justice.