“Judicial harassment and retaliatory measures against human rights defenders and their lawyers continue to characterise the response of Azerbaijan’s authorities to those who express critical opinions and co-operate with international organisations to expose human rights violations in the country” said today Commissioner Muižnieks while publishing his written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of the disbarment of defence lawyer Khalid Bagirov.
“The case of Mr Bagirov, whom I met several times in Strasbourg and Baku, provides a powerful illustration of the continuing shortcomings in the area of both freedom of expression and the functioning of the judiciary in Azerbaijan. His disbarment exemplifies a more general practice whereby lawyers are prevented from pursuing their human rights defence work or punished for doing so, in blatant disregard of Azerbaijan’s international obligations” said the Commissioner.
Third party interventions represent an additional tool at the Commissioner’s disposal to help promote and protect human rights. They are foreseen by the European Convention on Human Rights and are based on the Commissioner’s country and thematic activities. These observations do not include any comments on the facts or merits of the case, but provide objective and impartial information to the Court on aspects of concern to the Commissioner.