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Azerbaijan: Human rights judges declare “multiple violations” of convention after “unacknowledged detention and ill-treatment” of academic

Human rights judges ruled today that Azerbaijan authorities committed “multiple violations” of human rights law in their treatment of academic Novruzali Khanmammad oglu Mammadov.

The case Mammadov and Others v. Azerbaijan (application no. 35432/07) concerned Mammadov’s – a Talysh language specialist and editor-in-chief of an Azerbaijani-Talysh newspaper  -complaint that he had been arrested in 2007, held in unacknowledged detention for 24 hours and then sentenced to 15 days’ administrative detention which he spent in a location unknown either to his family or lawyer.

He alleged that he had been ill-treated during that period and had not been provided with medical care for high blood pressure, prostatitis and an overactive thyroid.

Mammadov also complained that he had then spent over a year in pre-trial detention without a proper justification until his conviction of high treason and sentencing to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Mammadov died in detention in 2009 of a heart attack. The application lodged by his wife and son, which was added to the original application, was lodged on 11 May 2010.

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, by four votes to three, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards Mr Mammadov’s ill-treatment between 2 and 17 February 2007.

It also held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention because he had been deprived of medical care between 2 and 17 February 2007:

a violation of Article 3 concerning the lack of an effective investigation into his allegation of ill-treatment;

a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) because the first 24 hours of his detention had not been recorded;

a violation of Article 5 § 3 (entitlement to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial) because the authorities had failed to give “relevant” and “sufficient” reasons to justify his pre-trial detention between February 2007 and June 2008;

no violation of Article 2 (right to life) as concerned his death in detention; and

a violation of Article 2 as concerned the authorities’ failure to conduct an effective investigation into his death.

 

Article 41 (just satisfaction)

The European court held that Azerbaijan was to pay the Ms Mammadova 20,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,000 in respect of costs and expenses.

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