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AZERBAIJAN IS AMONG THE WORLD LEADERS IN PRISON POPULATION

The Azeri Times

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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.

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Azerbaijan

Beaten to death at police station

The Azeri Times

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On 25 September, a resident of Gazakh in northwestern Azerbaijan, 37-year-old Elmir Mirza oghlu Akhundov, died at a local police station. According to his sister, Ulviyya Akhundova, he was beaten to death. Akhundova posted a series of photos showing her brother’s badly bruised body on Facebook.

The Azerbaijani Committee Against Torture told Open.az that, on the evening prior to his death, Akhundov had been in a fight with a member of a volunteer civilian law enforcement group called Public Police Support (Polisə İctimai Dəstək), in which Akhundov broke two of his opponent’s teeth. According to his sister, on the following day Akhundov was picked up by the police when he went out to buy cigarettes.

“As soon as I heard about it I went to the police department, but they wouldn’t let me in” Akhundova told Meydan TV. “A short time later an ambulance arrived. I asked what happened, but they wouldn’t tell me anything….They said somebody had had a brawl inside the police department and that was why the doctor had arrived. A short time later the hospital called to tell me that my brother had been beaten and killed and to ask me to come and take him away.”

According to Akhundova, her brother’s wrist, arm, hand, and leg were broken, and rocks were embedded in lacerations on his knees. She believes that her brother was beaten to death by the police, an accusation which the Gazakh district police department denies. Nevertheless, the Gazakh district prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal investigation into manslaughter and hooliganism.

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Azerbaijan

Special operation in Khachmaz: Terrorist neutralised

The Azeri Times

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The State Security Service (SSS) of Azerbaijan conducted a special operation, during which a member of a radical extremist group, who had been planning terrorist acts in the northern regions of the country, was killed. This is reported by the Centre for Public Relations of the State Security Service.

Information received that Najafov Nizami Adil oglu acquired weapons and explosives was confirmed as a result of investigations, after which the staff of the SSS and the prosecutor’s office started emergency measures.

As a result of the operation on disarming and bringing to justice Nizami Najafov, which took place on August 28 in Khachmaz district, the criminal refused to surrender and offered armed resistance by opening fire from a rifle.

As a result of the use of response fire from the staff of the SSS from service weapons Nizami Najafov was killed.

During the inspection of the scene near the body of Nizami Najafov, an AKSU assault rifle, ammunition to it, as well as an explosive device made by handicraft were discovered.

Operational and investigative measures are continuing.

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Criminal

Shadowy killings of participants of Ganja Protests continues long after the events

The Azeri Times

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According to the information by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a resident of Ganja, Rahimov Muraz Chapay oglu, was killed during a special police operation. Police received a tip where the criminal was hiding.

According to officials, Rahimov ignored the repeated calls of the police to lay down his arms and surrender. Instead he opened fire on law enforcement officers. Police had to use service weapons, and during the response fire the offender was killed.

Rahimov is the 6th person killed during special police operations. So far 6 killed, 61 arrested and 12 declared wanted. Many criticize Government for using the Ganja events to go after the targeted religious groups. Some even speculate that the bloody protest was staged as a bait by the Government itself to go after the ones who would rise up against the regime.

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