Azerbaijan’s Bar Association has terminated the membership of another lawyer.
On 11 June, the Presidium of the Bar Association terminated the membership of Irada Javadova. According to the Association’s press release, the decision was taken based on a complaint from someone identified only by the initials K. M. Without the consent of K. M., Javadova is alleged to have told the media that K. M. was illegally detained by the Office for Combating Organized Crime, information that is false and baseless, according to the complaint. Javadova denies the charges.
On 31 October 2017, the Azerbaijani parliament passed a controversial law banning non-Bar lawyers and lay practitioners from representing clients in court. It came into force on 1 December.
Since that time, a number of lawyers known as human rights defenders have seen their Bar membership suspended or terminated, including Khalid Baghirov, Elchin Namazov, Aslan Ismayilov, Alaif Hasanov, Muzaffar Bakhishov, Yalchin Imanov, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, Nemat Karimli, Asabali Mustafayev, and now Irada Javadova.
In 2003-2004, after joining the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan agreed to amend the Bar Act to expand the role of non-Bar lawyers and lay practitioners in the courts. In a country where the Bar Association is heavily politicized, this system has allowed many human rights lawyers to continue their work despite government pressure. The decision to bar representation by non-Bar lawyers has been harshly criticized by Azerbaijani civil society and international human rights organizations.
“IPHR calls on the government of Azerbaijan to guarantee that all lawyers are able to carry out their professional activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals,” says a statementreleased by the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) on 16 May. “IPHR urges the government of Azerbaijan to fully respect and protect the human rights of lawyers and implement in law, policy and practice protections provided for by international law and standards, including those contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.”