Dr.Leyla Yunus’s speech on the video-conference of Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe on 17 May 2021

All video-conference here:



Dr. Leyla Yunus

Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, Azerbaijan/Netherlands

Azerbaijan ignores the Resolution 2322 (2020) on reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan

When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001, three experts of the Council of Europe visited the country and made sure that there were several hundred political prisoners in Azerbaijan. And as indicated in paragraph No. 10 of Resolution 2322 (2020):

10 When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe, it recognised the existence of political prisoners and co-operated on measures to release them. Since then, its position has shifted to one of denial.

After the replacement of Heydar Aliyev as president in 2003 by his son Ilham, the Azerbaijan government, first of all Ilham Aliyev, deny the presence of political prisoners in the country. All the listed PACE resolutions: Resolution 1272 (2002), Resolution 1359 (2004), Resolution 1457 (2005) and Resolution 2185 (2017) are completely ignored by Ilham Aliyev. Resolution 2322 (2020) adopted in January 2020 is also ignored.

There are currently 111 political prisoners in detention:

  • Group № 1 Journalists and Bloggers – 7 persons
  • Group № 2 Members of Opposition Parties and Movements – 6 persons
  • Group № 3 Arrested after the rally on July 14-15, 2020 – 3 persons
  • Group № 4 Peaceful Believers – 18 persons
  • Group № 5 Convicted in Terter case – 25 persons
  • Group № 6 Convicted in Ganja case – 38 persons
  • Group № 7 Life Term Sentenced – 14 persons

Life Term Sentenced prisoners have been imprisoned since 1994-1995, that is, for more

than 25 years. Their number is reduced only as a result of death in prison.

As indicated in paragraph No. 7 of the Resolution 2322 (2020)

7 The Assembly recalls the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) showing that detainees, including political prisoners, are at risk of inadequate conditions and serious ill-treatment in Azerbaijani police stations, pre-trial detention centers and prisons.

Torture and murder under torture are regularly in Azerbaijan.

The worst crime of the Aliyev regime in recent years is Terter case.

In 2017, without a court decision, about 2.000 people were arrested, mainly military personnel in Terter region. Most of them were charged with treason. According to information, gathered by IPD, in May 2017 the investigators of Military Procurator’s Office in Terter region, in Azerbaijan, killed 11 citizens of Azerbaijan, under tortures:

  1. Mehman Huseynov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 16, 2017.
  2. Sahavat Bunyadov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 17, 2017.
  3. Saleh Gafarov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 14, 2017.
  4. Elchin Quliyev was arrested on May 11, his body was buried on May 18, 2017.
  5. Tamkin Nizamioglu was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on May 21, 2017.
  6. Dayandur Azizli was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on July 20, 2017.
  7. Suleyman Kazymov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 7, 2017.
  8. Elkhan Agazade was arrested on May 1, his body was buried on May 10, 2017.
  9. Elchin Mirzaliyev was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 25, 2017.
  10. Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was arrested in the morning on May 16, 2017. The body of beaten to death Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was given out in the evening on May 16, 2017.
  11. Adil Tehran oglu Sabirli was beaten to death on May 5, 2017

OMCT did Statement on Terter case “Azerbaijan: 11 deaths in custody and other serious human rights violations in the “Terter case”:


But this terrible crime the Azerbaijani authorities hide.

Our IPD has information about 25 citizens sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (from 8 to 20 years). However, the number of convicts is more – 78 persons. All trials took place in closed military courts.

In paragraph No. 9 of the Resolution 2322 (2020) it is written:

9 The Assembly welcomes the steps taken by the Azerbaijani authorities in recent years to reform the penitentiary, criminal justice and judicial systems, ….

But in reality no reforms at all. And there are no independent judicial system in Azerbaijan. All judges follow instructions from the President’s office.

And if the judge does not follow the instructions from above, he immediately ceases to be a judge. As it happened with the judge of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku Samir Talybov, who on April 1, 2020 made a fair decision and released Aqil Humbatov, who criticized president on Facebook, from forced placement in a psychiatric hospital.

The next day, the judge Samir Talybov, who had released Aqil Humbatov from the psychiatric hospital, was called from the presidential office and asked to write a statement about his voluntary resignation, which he did. Within one day, the Judicial and Legal Counsel of Azerbaijan dismissed Samir Talybov from his post of judge… Here: https://www.ipd-az.org/agil-gumbatov/

Law enforcement officers fabricate accusations against critics of government officials, first of all, Ilham Aliyev, and personally torture and kill people.

Since 2014, lawyers who have the courage to defend the rights of political prisoners have been expelled from the Bar Association, just as Alaif Hasanov, Khalid Bagirov, Yalchin Imanov, Muzafar Bakhyshev, Aslan Ismayilov and Elchin Namazov were expelled.

All proposals in paragraph 11 of Resolution 2322 (2020) are completely ignored.

Not Azerbaijani Parliament and its members, no the Azerbaijani Government did not and do not recognize formally all of the findings of the European Court of Human Rights in its judgments establishing a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention.

There are no free and democratic elections in Azerbaijan and all members of the parliament of Azerbaijan are appointed as deputies in the presidential apparatus.

Apply to this deputies to use their legislative and executive oversight roles to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to implement fully and effectively the European Court of Human Rights judgments and prevent further recurrence of politically motivated arbitrary detention is very naive. They are no independent, they cannot do it.

In Azerbaijan government, in Azerbaijan there are not an independent and impartial body, which can be release political prisoners.

The requirements of the ECHR are also ignored. The ECHR has found a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention against more than 10 political prisoners.

The Plenum of the Supreme Court should be an acquittal against everyone from whom ECHR found a violation of Article 18.

However, the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic overturned the sentences only in respect of Ilqar Mammadov and Rasul Jafarov.

Despite numerous appeals, the Plenum of the Supreme Court does not consider the cases of Anar Mammadli, Rashadad Akhundov, Zaur Qurbanli, Uzeyir Mammadli, Rashad Hasanov, Khadija Ismayilova, Intigam Aliyev.

In the autumn of 2020, Anar Mammadli appealed to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe , pointing to the refusal of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan to consider his case.

The statement of the deputies of the Azerbaijani Parliament that the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan suspended its work due to the pandemic and the war with Armenia is not true.

After judgement in case of Ilqar Mammadov and Rasul Jafarov on 23 April 2020, the Plenum met several times: on 7 May and 18 September 2020, on 2 and 19 February 2021 and last time on 30 April 2021. But did not consider the cases of other persons in whose the ECHR decided on violation of Article 18 of the European Convention.

The ECHR also recognized a violation of Article 18 against me, Leyla Yunus, and my husband Arif. We can and must be acquitted by the Appeal Court, where our case is pending. On the contrary, the Appeal Court suspended the criminal case and put our names on the international wanted list through Interpol. This shows that Azerbaijan is not going to implement the decision of the ECHR and acquit us.

So, none of the provisions of Resolution 2322 (2020) has been implemented.

P.S. According to the relatives of those killed under torture and convicted in the Terter case, about 2.000 people were arrested and 1.438 people were tortured. I was given the names of 101 people who were tortured. Currently, 78 people are in custody.