Asadbeyli and Others v Azerbaijan
The eleven applicants were participants in, or were alleged to be organisers of, an unauthorised demonstration in Baku on 16 October 2003 against the 2003 presidential election results. According to reports, as the crowd of protestors had marched towards the main city square, they had damaged cars, buildings and other urban property, and had attacked police officers. A large number of riot police and military personnel had then arrived in the square, equipped with helmets, shields and truncheons. Violent clashes followed between the crowds and police. Hundreds of people were consequently arrested, including the applicants, who were charged and convicted with “organising or participating in public disorder” and the “use of violence against public officials” under the Criminal Code. One of these applicants, Mr Ilgar Ibrahim oglu Allahverdiyev (No. 36083/05) was represented by Prof. Bill Bowring with the support of EHRAC. He was the chairman of several NGOs, a magazine editor, and the Imam of the Juma Mosque, which was closed by the Azerbaijani authorities. He maintained that he had left the demonstration before the violence erupted, and had observed the events from a distance. He was nevertheless held in custody for three months before being convicted of the crimes above, and given a suspended sentence of five years’ imprisonment. The conviction was upheld on appeal in hearings which allegedly lasted only a few minutes.
For the judgment on this case, please follow the link below.