Agent of Azerbaijan before European Court of Human Rights: The opposition confuses freedom of assembly with hooliganism – INTERVIEW

Agent of Azerbaijan before European Court of Human Rights: The opposition confuses freedom of assembly with hooliganism – <font color=red>INTERVIEW </font>
# 19 April 2011 14:05 (UTC +04:00)
-The opposition declared the attempt to hold rally on April 17 as completed. What can you say about it?

-I consider that a group of persons representing the radical opposition again committed acts aiming to violate law. As is known, Baku Mayor’s Office did not receive any official information about any action in Sahil park on April 17. A few persons informed Baku Mayor’s Office that an action will be held outside Narimanov cinema, but taking into account that there are no conditions to hold action there, Mayor’s Office offered to hold the action in one of the places allotted for it. Internal affairs agencies said any unauthorized action will be prevented. Last Sunday a group of persons ignoring the law and legal demands of the state agencies attempted to assemble in Sahil park in small groups, committed acts violating public order, expressed open disrespect to the society. I think the opposition confuses freedom of assembly with hooliganism.

- But opposition representatives have opposite pretensions. For example, in his interview to Radio Liberty, lawyer Erkin Gadirli sounded different ideas about the freedom of assembly. What is your opinion about that?

- A number of points, including essence of the law on freedom of assembly, the Constitutional Court’s decision on implementation of this freedom and the police duties to break up this action were mentioned in that program. The last version of the law on freedom of assembly was drafted together with the Council of Europe Venice Commission, which highly appreciated it. According to the law, organizers of the action should previously inform the executive authorities about their plans to coordinate the venue and time of the action for taking necessary measures by the executive authorities. There is a question, where does Erkin Gadirli find the word of “permission” in this law?

In the beginning of the program, Gadirli praised the Constitutional Court’s decision, but later he called it as a “weak decision” for the reasons known only to him and quoted those points of the decision, which are suitable for real aims of his speech. I consider that the Constitutional Court’s decision quite enough used the judicial law of the European Court and modern views of the legal science. The most important thing is that the Constitutional Court expressed opinion about the ideas hysterically spread by the oppositionists and so-called lawyers among the society as if the freedom of assembly couldn’t be restricted and in conclusion, proved that the freedom of assembly is not an absolute.

Gadirli also tries to distort the ideas sounded in the interview published under headline “Illegal actions will be prevented further”. The lawyer should read the publication before expressing his opinion about it. It seems Gadirli didn’t read that interview. The interview said that it needs to balance the confronted interests while restricting of any right. It is impossible to leave Baku without transport, to disturb the people and violate their rights for realizing the freedom of assembly of some 200-300 people. This idea was expressed concerning the opposition’s plans to hold action outside the Tebriz cinema. Closing that road could create transport problems for the residents of 8 km, Ahmadli, Gunashli and other nearby settlements of Baku. All cases should be taken into consideration. Just saving the balance was emphasized in the interview.

The interview also expressed attitude to the balance, which is observed during the fulfillment of police’s duties for protection of public order.

The possibility of use of the necessary force and special means by police for the dispersion of the assemblies, prevention of violence actions is not refused and can not be refused in any international agreement, in judgments of the international courts as well as in the obligations in the field of human rights.
In any place of the world the police use forces, special means for the above-mentioned purposes. For example, the judgment adopted by Great Chamber of the European Court on the case “Giuliani and Gaggio vs Italy” shows that the police used special means as well as fire-arms in order to prevent violence during the demonstrations held against G8 in Genoa. One demonstrator died as a result of fire opened by police, but the European Court had not determined the violation of the Convention in this case.

Then I would like to say to you again, don’t say any groundless opinion, do not show preconceived attitude toward the publications of persons who support the government. It would be better to protect the name of lawyer and not to distort the legal norms wittingly instead of protect the anarchy in return for foreign grants.
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