Document - Azerbaijan: Presidential candidate’s convoy attacked

URGENT ACTION

UA: 11/13 Index: EUR 55/001/2013 Azerbaijan Date: 15 January 2013

URGENT ACTION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE’S CONVOY ATTACKED A convoy carrying opposition Azerbaijani Presidential candidate Isa Gambar was attacked by a mob on 13 January, resulting in at least nine people injured and several cars badly damaged. Police looked on without intervening. According to a spokesperson from Isa Gambar’s party, Musavat, the Presidential candidate was on his way to campaign in the southern coastal city of Lenkoran on 13 January when 10 vehicles attempted to block his convoy at the city’s entrance.

A crowd of more than 100 people then pelted the candidate’s convoy with rocks and eggs taken from nearby trucks, smashing the car windows. Nine people in Isa Gambar’s entourage were injured, including several who were punched and kicked, and Musavat Party deputy leader Gulagha Aslanli, whose foot was run over by a car.

During the ambush, a Musavat Party photographer, Mehman Karimov, was briefly detained for questioning by men in civilian clothes who appeared to be directing the crowd. He was released after they returned his camera.

Nearby police officers did not intervene. Isa Gambar and his convoy managed to get away, but only after being rammed by a truck and followed for several kilometres by around five cars. On 12 January, a peaceful protest in Baku was broken up, with political activists being specifically targeted and charged with taking part in an unauthorized protest.

Please write immediately in Azerbaijani or your own language:  Calling on the authorities to launch an investigation immediately into the attack on the Musavat Party convoy at the entrance to Lenkoran city, and the failure of the police to intervene;  Calling on them to launch an investigation immediately to identify those responsible for injuring members of the convoy and damaging their vehicles and bring them to justice;  Calling on the authorities to refrain from selectively prosecuting political and civil society youth activists.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 FEBRUARY 2013 TO: Ministry of Internal Affairs Col.-Gen. Ramil Usubov 7 Azerbaijan Prospekti, Baku AZ1005, AZERBAIJAN Fax: +994 12 590 98 64 (keep trying) Salutation: Dear Minister

Prosecutor General Zakir Qaralov Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan 7 Rafibeyli Street, Baku 370001, AZERBAIJAN Fax: +994 12 492 32 30 (keep trying) Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

And copies to: President Ilham Aliyev Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan 18 Istiqlaliyyat Street, Baku, AZ1066, AZERBAIJAN Fax: +994 12 492 0625 (keep trying) Email: office@pa.gov.az Salutation: Dear President Aliyev

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE’S CONVOY ATTACKED

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Amnesty International has long-standing concerns about the Azerbaijani authorities' persecution of those who dare to publicly criticise them. Dissenting voices in the country are frequently targeted with trumped-up criminal charges, assault, harassment or blackmail. Our numerous recent publications on Azerbaijan document dozens of just such cases in detail (www.amnesty.org/en/region/azerbaijan), but can be found in summary in last year's annual report (http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/azerbaijan/report-2012).

Such individuals cannot expect to find redress within Azerbaijan. The courts – from local to supreme – are not independent and bow to political pressure as a matter of routine. Currently, any person prosecuted by the authorities in retaliation for criticising the government cannot expect to receive a fair trial. Similarly, any person making a claim against the government cannot expect just satisfaction or protection from the courts. Detailed information on our fair trial concerns in freedom of expression cases in Azerbaijan can be found in the report The Spring that Never Blossomed: Freedoms Suppressed in Azerbaijan (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR55/011/2011/en) (EUR 55/011/2011).

While such individuals may receive some support from Azerbaijani NGOs, the NGOs are not able to provide protection in this authoritarian state. In fact, NGOs themselves are under constant pressure from the government and risk forced closure if they are perceived as overly critical or problematic. (See The Spring that Never Blossomed: Freedoms Suppressed in Azerbaijan (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR55/011/2011/en) (EUR 55/011/2011).

Name: Isa Gambar and members of the Musavat Party Gender m/f: both

UA: 11/13 Index: EUR 55/001/2013 Issue Date: 15 January 2013

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