Azerbaijani Ombudsman Demands Public Control over Armed Forces
Azerbaijan, Baku, 27 October/ Trend , corr I. Alizade/ Azerbaijani Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova says public control is needed to prevent torture and dedovshchina related cases in the army.
Public should exercise control over military units and jails, Ombusdman Elmira Suleymanova said to Trend .
A video tape showing soldiers in the military unit being beaten was posted on internet on 4October. The video was taped in the military unit of the Interior Ministry located in Hajigabul city.
The press service of the Interior Forces confirmed that officers Vugar Agayev and Eldaniz Rahimov have been arrested for beating soldiers. A suit has been filed over the fact. The chief of the military unit and deputy chief have been dismissed.
Later on, a video tape showing soldiers in the military hospital being beaten by a "dembel" (a soldier who is going to complete his military service) was posted on internet. It was videotaped in the Alat military hospital of the Defense Ministry in February. Military Prosecutor's Office said a suit has been filed into violating mutual relations between military servants and regulations.
Suleymanova said Ministry of Justice has already provided conditions for the public control over the jails.
"A group of NGO representatives and independent experts conduct monitoring in jails, meet with prisoners and make their proposals for the Ministry of Justice without facing difficulties. A decision on public control over military units must be officially adopted," she added.
She said there is no need to create military ombudsman institution. Because, public control body is usually larger. "Parents, independent experts and representatives of the Defence Ministry can be involved in the public control".
She said her report for 2008 makes an offer regarding public control over the army.
"Representatives of Ombudsman Administration and me often visit military units. But it is not easy to reveal dedovshchina cases in the army. No ministry is interested in revealing such cases. We conducted a small investigation following these video tapes and found out that this fact is true. I appealed Military Prosecutor's Office. The investigation is being conducted at the moment. I want all military units to be aware of the results of such actions and know that such actions will not go unpunished," she added.
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