Azerbaijani Parliament discusses increasing fines for participation at illegal meetings

Azerbaijani Parliament discusses increasing fines for participation at illegal meetings

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct 23 /Trend M.Aliyev/

The committee on Legal Policy and State Building and Human Rights of Parliament tabled changes to the law On freedom of assembly, at the joint meeting on Tuesday.

Member of the Committee on Legal Policy and State Building Rafael Jabrailov, who submitted the changes to the law, said the legislation of Azerbaijan provided administrative action against the organisers of illicit meetings, but not against the participants of these meetings.

"Organisers cannot control everything and be responsible for any member," he said.

He noted that currently fines have had no effect due to their being too small.

The fine is presently from seven to 13 manat. Under the law, if the unauthorised action causes significant damage to the freedom, rights and interests of others, the protesters are fined 300 manat, and organisers 500 manat.

According to amendments to the Criminal Code, organising meetings in cases prohibited by law, conducting or participating in them and if the unauthorised action causes significant damage to the freedom, rights and interests of others, the protesters will be fined 5000 - 8000 manat (now up 300 manat).

For the use of firearms or knives, explosives and devices at such meetings, as well as other tools and items creating risk of injury to others there will be a fine of 5000-8000 manat (now stands at 100-500 manat.) The part involving deprivation of liberty in both sections, providing these penalties (169.1 and 169.2) has remained unchanged.

Article 233 of the Criminal Code provides a penalty of five to eight thousand manat for gross violations of social rules and disobeying the lawful demands of the authorities, or commits the organisation of such actions that become the cause of a malfunction of the organisations, departments, institutions, transport and active participation in such actions (now 500 manat).

The chairman of the Committee on Human Rights Rabiyat Aslanova said after the adoption of the law on freedom of assembly, many changes were made to protect human rights.

If the citizens of Azerbaijan are guided by the laws, there will be no fines, Aslanova said.

According to the deputy chairman of the Committee on Legal Policy and State Building Rovshan Rzayev, low fines lead to a repetition of criminal acts.

Committee member Azay Guliyev, in turn said the change in the law will increase the responsibility of citizens for their actions. He also expressed regret over the fact that uncoordinated actions have become regular in recent years.

He noted that the uncoordinated actions cause damage to the image of Azerbaijan in the international arena and these changes are also intended to prevent this happening.

After discussion, amendments to the law On the freedom of assembly are proposed for discussion in Parliament.

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