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Freedom to human rights activist Ogtay Gulaliyev

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Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev – Coordinator of the “Kura” (the name of river in Azerbaijan) Civil Society Headquarter, Member of the Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries, Chairman of “For the Democratic Reforms” Public Union, Editor-in-chief of “Transparency” magazine was illegally detained during his meeting with the local residents of Sabirabad region, Minbashy village when the residents were conducting protest action on April 8 for fair distribution of aids to the citizens, and he was subject to 12-days administrative arrest. On April 19, Sabirabad district prosecutor’s office launched criminal case with the clause 220.2 of the criminal code (active resistance with the demands of the authorities and call for mass riots and violence against citizens) and the same day 2-months arrest was decided about him. The same clause foresees imprisonment for around 3 years.
Trial process for both accusations forwarded to Ogtay Gulaliyev was conducted in secret and coarse law violations were made. Thus, he was not provided with the lawyer.
Same time, in spite of the fact O.Gulaliyev stated he had been beaten by Rauf Majidov, deputy head of the department of Sabirabad district Police Department and appeled to the ministry of internal affairs in this relation, no investigation was started so far.
O.Gulaliyev is a distinguished civil society leader with his activity of principle in expanding extractive industries transparency initiative in Azerbaijan, strengthening social control on oil revenues, and struggling against corruption over spending of oil funds. He was twice elected as a Board member of the Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries. Over recent years, he had worked a lot as coordinator of the “Kura” Civil Society Headquarter in organizing social control over fair distribution of around 500 million dollars allocated from budget for flood suffering people, and identifying the existing problems and corruption in this area.
The NGO Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries (EITI) reckons that the arrest of O.Gulaliyev is related with his sustained professional activity as a civil society activist in increasing transparency in spending of oil revenues and struggling against corruption. Thus, Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries states that it serves making silent him and the civil society activists struggling for transparency in general, and values this incident as a step taken for putting limitations in civil society engagement in ensured transparency over spending of oil revenues. The coalition reckons that the given incident aims at threatening Azerbaijani human right defenders, and other active NGO activists striving for increasing transparency and struggling with corruption, and making them abstain from defending human rights and freedoms, and social initiatives in spending of oil revenues. Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries considers the arrest of Ogtay Gulaliyev is illegal and claims his immediate release.

Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries appealing to the local community, international organizations, diplomatic corps and mass media representatives, calls the above to support the restoration and defense of the rights of Ogtay Gulaliyev and the fair claim of the local civil society.

The NGO Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries comprised of around 170 NGOs states that the Coalition will make much closer cooperation with the “Kura” Civil Society Headquarter, and will take necessary steps for strengthening activity of the headquarter and same time increasing public support for the release of Ogtay Gulaliyev.

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