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the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, International human rights organizations

 To the European Court for Human Rights,
the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights,
International human rights organizations

On the restriction of the right of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) 
to file a complaint with the ECHR and the UNCHR.

I, Alakram Alekper oglu Hummatov, was sentenced to death in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1996. In 1998, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and in 2003, to 15 years in prison. The Council of Europe recognised me as a political prisoner, and, first and foremost, thanks to its pressure, the Azerbaijani authorities were forced to release me in 2004. Subsequently, on 29 November 2007, the ECHR ruled on the complaint “Hummatov v. Azerbaijan” (No. 9852/03 and No. 13413/04): the way I was treated in places of detention was recognised as cruel, and the courts held against me were found to be unfair by virtue of political motives. The reason I was arrested by Heydar Aliyev (then President of Azerbaijan) was the peaceful proclamation of the Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic, which I initiated in the seven southern regions of the country inhabited by the Talysh, an indigenous people subjected to a systematic assimilation policy in Azerbaijan. On 7 August 1993, the freely assembled deputies of the newly convened Parliament of the Talysh-Mughan Republic elected me as President of the TMAR. At that time, Fakhraddin Farman oglu Abbasov(later - Aboszoda), born on 25 December 1956, a native of the village of Bylaband in the Lerik District of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a professor at Baku State University, was elected to the position of the Speaker of Parliament. After the defeat of the ТМАR by the central authorities of the country, he became editor of the only newspaper in the country published in the Talyshi language– the newspaper Tolyshi Sado (at a later time, he creates and runs two other Talysh newspapers – the Tolysh  in St. Petersburg and the Shavnysht  in Baku). To flee the persecution by the authorities, he was soon forced to emigrate to Russia, where he lived from 1995 to 2005, as well as from 2008 to 2018. In 2011, he was granted temporary asylum there (in doing so, the Russian authorities recognised the unlawfulness of the persecution of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) by the Azerbaijani authorities), and in 2014 - a residence permit. He is the author of the largest Talyshi dictionaries, as well as a unique full grammar book of the Talyshi language. In his journalistic and socio-political activities, he sharply criticised the Azerbaijani authorities for their policy of assimilation of the Talysh people, as well as widespread corruption, usurpation of power and numerous human rights violations.

On 6 September 2018, Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) was detained by law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On 27 February 2019, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation refused to satisfy the request for extradition of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) to Azerbaijan. However, on the same day, the Lubertsy Town Court, refusing to call the lawyers of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), decided to expel him, thus violating one of the fundamental principles of international law - the principle of non-refoulement. After that, unknown assailants handed him over to the Azerbaijani authorities. After the deportation, on 29 April  2020, the Moscow Regional Court quashed the decision of the Lubertsy Town Court, declaring it illegal.

In September 2019, M. Moskalenko, the lawyer of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), filed a complaint to the ECHR (No. 46344/19). However, Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), who was completely isolated in a pre-trial detention facility of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan since 28 February 2019, was misled by the investigator and the head of the detention facility and was unable to sign the complaint form. Neither the lawyer nor the relatives had any opportunity to contact him. The investigating authorities restricted any communication with the outside world. Thus, the Azerbaijani authorities deprived him of the right to appeal to the ECHR with an individual complaint, thereby violating Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It should be mentioned that back in 2003, the UN Committee against Torture recommended (paragraph 7d of the 2003 Final Report) either to transfer the remand prison in which he is held under the authority of the Ministry of Justice or to close it down.

The court decision, according to which Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) was detained in the pre-trial detention facility of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan from 28 February 2019, was delivered to him only 38 days after his arrest in Baku. It actually means that all this time he was illegally imprisoned by the State Security Service. As it turned out, according to the decision he received (the decision of the Sabail District Court of Baku dated 14 July 2018), he had already been detained for 6 months in the Russian Federation from 6 September 2018 to 27 February 2019. According to the same judicial principle, he could not be deprived of his liberty again. On 10 April 2019, he filed an appeal to the Baku City Court, but it was rejected at a court hearing on 15 April 2019. Fakhraddin Abbasov (Abozzoda) demanded that his lawyer Elman Isameddin oglu Osmanov could send a complaint to the ECHR regarding his illegal arrest. The lawyer said that he sent this complaint on 3 October 2019 by mail and showed him some postal receipts as confirmation. Unfortunately, the lack of information from the ECHR indicates that the lawyer Elchin Qanbarov probably entered into a criminal conspiracy with the investigative authorities and deceitfully restrained Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) from exercising the right to file an individual complaint to the ECHR. Thus, the Azerbaijani authorities violated Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in relation to Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) for the second time. In addition, both lawyers and investigative authorities refuse to issue copies of court documents to the relatives of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), depriving them of the opportunity to appeal to any international judicial authorities (the ECHR, the UN Human Rights Commission).

On 14 February 2020, the Baku Court on Grave Crimes found 63-year-old scholar Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) guilty of committing crimes under Article 281.2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (“public calls for violent changes in the constitutional system or violation of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as dissemination of materials of such content committed repeatedly or by a group”), Article 283.1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (“fomenting of inter-ethnic discord”), Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (“high treason”), and he was sentenced to 16 years of deprivation of freedom to be served in a strict regimen colony. The chairman of the court was Faig Ganiyev, a former investigator of the Ministry of National Security (now the State Security Service) for especially important cases. The court declared the trial partially closed, justifying it with the presence of state secrets in the case. Although it is known that Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) never had access to classified information, and since 2008 he lived outside of Azerbaijan and had never contacted Azerbaijani officials. The trial was conducted with numerous violations. The only witness for the prosecution during the trial of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) recanted his pre-trial statement. The prosecution did not provide any evidence of the perpetration of the alleged crimes, but the court condemned the Talysh scholar as an “Armenian spy”. Earlier, similar Talysh scholars who were also at different times editors of the newspaper Tolyshi Sado were convicted on similar charges: Novruzali Mammadov in 2008 and Hilal Mammadov in 2013 were identified as “Iranian spies” by the Azerbaijani Themis. In 2019, the ECHR found Azerbaijan guilty of violating Novruzali Mammadov’s rights to life, liberty and security of person, to trial within a reasonable time, as well as violating the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, 67-year-old Novruzali Mammadov died in custody in 2009.

It is to be noted that I personally, who was persecuted for the proclamation of the Talysh Autonomy, after the case was reviewed in 2003 by the authorities, was sentenced “only” to 15 years in prison. Even former Azerbaijani ministers Ali Insanov and Farhad Aliyev, who were accused of attempting a coup, were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison, respectively. However, the only specialist in the Talyshi language in Azerbaijan, scholar and journalist Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) was convicted of his socio-political, scientific and journalistic activities, and in particular for criticising the authorities for 16 years of imprisonment.

On 25 February 2020, Ganga Ibrahimov, the lawyer of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), filed an appeal against the decision of the Baku Court on Grave Crimes to the Baku Court of Appeal. However, the judicial authorities have not yet determined the dates for the consideration of the appeal. In addition, the investigating authorities forbade lawyers to give anyone the full text of the decision of the Baku Court on Grave Crimes dated 14 February 2020.

On 12 March 2020, Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) last contacted his brother by telephone from the pre-trial detention facility of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan. Since then, nothing has been known about his whereabouts and state of health. On 1 April 2020, employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross finally informed relatives that Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) was transferred to Baku Pretrial Detention Facility No. 1 in the village of Kurdakhany. Meanwhile, the state authorities did not report this to either the family of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), as required by law, or his lawyer Ganga Ibrahimov. Until now, state authorities, including the Prison Service, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (the Ombudsman) and the State Security Service, either report false information about the whereabouts and state of health of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda), or are silent or promise to “sort it out”, but do not communicate afterwards. Even employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross cannot contact Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda).

I urge you to cooperate in ensuring the right of Fakhraddin Abbasov (Aboszoda) to a fair trial, to submit individual complaints to the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Commission on Human Rights, and to demand for the provision of complete and reliable information about his fate, whereabouts and state of health.

Alakram Hummatov (Hummatzoda),
President of the Talysh-Mugan Autonomous Republic,
Chairman of the Talysh National Movement,
The Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands,
20.04. 2020
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