CoE: Torture, impunity and corruption remain widespread in Azerbaijan

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today reports on six of its visits to Azerbaijan – in 2004, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 – together with the responses of the Azerbaijani Government. Thus, all of the CPT’s reports on its visits to Azerbaijan have now been made public.

The CPT’s overall impression of the situation in Azerbaijan is that torture and other forms of physical ill-treatment by the police, other law enforcement agencies and the army, corruption in the whole law enforcement system and impunity remain systemic, widespread and endemic. The findings of the 2017 ad hoc visit suggest the existence of a generalized culture of violence among the staff of various law enforcement agencies.

Besides, there is a serious problem of impunity and lack of proper investigation of ill-treatment allegations, as well as and ineffective legal safeguards for detained persons, such as access to a lawyer, notification of custody, access to a doctor, receiving information on rights.

Further, despite legislative reforms and efforts to renovate old and build new prisons, there is an ongoing problem of prison overcrowding, poor material conditions, lack of activities (especially for remand and life-sentenced prisoners), inadequate medical care and insufficient and poorly paid prison staff. These issues make it harder to fight corruption and prevent inter-prisoner violence.

Commenting as the reports and responses were published, Mr Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the CPT, said:

“It is high time that the Azerbaijani authorities took decisive action to stamp out torture in the country and implement to the fullest extent the Committee’s recommendations”.

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