Parliament Denies Existence of Torture Within Army and Prisons of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 February/ corr. Trend I. Alizadeh/ The chairman of the commission of the Azerbaijani parliament on human rights believes that the torture does not exist within law enforcement departments, the army and in prisons in Azerbaijan. "Therefore there is no need to set up a special working group to investigate the matter," Rabiyat Aslanova, the chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission on human rights said to Trend on 18 February.
According to a report of the Committee against Torture of Azerbaijan for 2007, there are still cases of torture taking place against people in Azerbaijan. According to Committee, these cases are more frequent in the Azerbaijan army. Elchin Behbudov, the chairman of the Committee said that a special working group should be established to investigate and eradicate cases of torture. He has appealed to the President Ilham Aliyev in this regard.
Mentioning that Azerbaijan has joined international conventions against torture and that it has taken obligations, the chairman of the parliamentary commission said that the country fulfils its obligations to prevent cases of torture. "The reports from international organizations state that there are no cases of torture taking place in Azerbaijan," she said.
According to Aslanova, a Public Committee operates at the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan consisting of leaders of the various non-government organizations. "The members of the Public Committee have a right to visit prisons, to hold monitoring and to inform the Justice Ministry of negative cases that have been revealed. If there are complaints made against the activities of police, an appeal must be made to the Interior Ministry.
Aslanova said that the Ombudsman's Administration and the parliament commission on human rights are exercising control over the guarantee of human rights in Azerbaijan. "If there is any violation of human rights, these structures should be appealed. However, NGOs have never appealed to the commission," she said.
Elmira Suleymanova, the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan said to journalists at the end of 2007 that the cases of torture are most frequent in police departments.
Elchin Behbudov, the member of Public Committee at the Ministry of Justice and the chairman of Azerbaijani Committee against Torture said that the citizens are usually subjected to torture during preliminary examinations to force them to confirm their guilt or to provide evidence.
The human rights activist said that very often the torturers are punished. "But even when they are punished, they are made answerable for misusing the power, and exceeding their commission as the punishment for torture is more severe.