This article was originally published in Russian by the
The defense attorney for Ali Karimli, leader of the Azerbaijan Popular Front opposition party, announced that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has included in the agenda for its December meeting the question of the failure to uphold the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)’s decision regarding Karimli’s case. A
correspondent reports that the case has to do with the Azerbaijani government’s refusal to grant him a new passport.
On January 16, 2009, Karimli sent a complaint regarding Azerbaijan to the ECHR in connection with the failure to grant him a regular passport, which in Azerbaijan serves as a foreign travel passport. As a result of not having such a passport, Karimli has not been able to travel abroad since 2006. In February 2013, the ECHR began communicating with the Azerbaijani government in connection with Karimli’s complaints. On June 16, 2015, the ECHR published its decision regarding Karimli’s case, acknowledging that his rights to freedom of movement had been violated and decreeing that he be payed 8,600 euros.
On November 10,
, the human rights defender representing Karimli’s interests in the ECHR, told a
correspondent that the Azerbaijani government did not fulfill the ECHR’s decision regarding Karimli’s case.
“As previously, he [
] has not been granted a passport. He most recently appealed to the Passport and Registration Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan on September 11, and was turned down once more”, said Aliyev.
According to the defense attorney, the ECHR informed him that the question of failure to fulfill the European Court’s decision regarding Karimli’s case will be examined at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on December 6-8.
“The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe also performs the function of monitoring the fulfillment of ECHR decisions in participant countries. The Committee has the right to demand an explanation from the government, to look into this issue and in the end to take measures in the form of sanctions”, explained Aliyev.
stated that, according to Intiqam Aliyev, in 1994, after Ali Karimli’s arrest at a protest action for which the government did not give permission, a criminal case for illegally keeping weapons was launched against the opposition figure. Aliyev noted that the police declared they had discovered two anti-tank grenades in the opposition figure’s possession. Under pressure from local and international organizations, Karimli was released from custody after a time. In 2001 he received a regular passport, which expired in 2006. But in June of 2006, Karimli was refused a new passport. Aliyev declared that the reasons according to which the Azerbaijani government refused to grant Karimli a regular passport were “absurd and politically motivated”.
himself thinks that the failure to fulfill the ECHR’s decision regarding his complaint is a sign of the government’s prejudiced attitude both towards him personally, and towards the Azerbaijani National Front Party (ANFP) as a whole.
“The government throws up obstacles to our activities in every way possible, because we speak the truth about corruption and are in the front lines of the struggle for democracy in Azerbaijan. For more than ten years we have been deprived of an office. It is not only that the government does not offer an office itself, but also prevents private real estate owners from renting us facilities”, he explained to
He also noted that more than ten ANFP activists, among whom are Seymur Hezi, Murad Adilov, Asif Yusifli, Elvin Abdullaev, Mammad Ibrahim, Fuad Qahramanli, and others, have been arrested on fabricated charges.
“Our young activists are constantly subjected to administrative arrest. Because of my opposition activity, my sick brother-in-law, Elnur Seyidov, who has nothing to do with politics, is being held in prison”, stated the opposition figure.
Elnur Seyidov, who held the post of deputy head of the Yasamal branch of Bank Technique OJSC, was detained on March 27, 2012. On October 29, 2013, he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. In September 2016, a Baku appeals court refused the request that Seyidov be released early on parole for health reasons. Seyidov is included in the list of Azerbaijan’s political prisoners as a “political hostage” (those arrested for the political activities of their relatives). The updated list of the names of political prisoners in Azerbaijan is published in the “NGO Documents” section on the
Karimli declared it absurd that the government refuses to grant him a passport that would allow him to leave the country.
“It is absurd to not permit me to leave the country because of the fact that I could critique the country’s government at international forums, since we have the ability to appeal to the international community via means of new information and telecommunications technologies”, noted the opposition figure.
Azerbaijan’s plenipotentiary to the ECHR,
was not available for comment.