Arrest and detention of human rights defender Rasul Jafarov

Photo credit: People in Need’s “Doubling Down on Repression” exhibition.

Rasul Jafarov v Azerbaijan, as part of the Ilgar Mammadov group (Appl. No. 69981/14)

Briefed on: 20 February and 5 September 2017 and 20 May 2019

Documents from the 2019 briefing:

Documents from the 2017 briefing:

  • Rule 9 submission of Philip Leach, legal representative of Rasul Jafarov and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC)

  • Expert legal opinion of Julian Knowles QC, Matrix Chambers

  • Two written submissions to the Committee of Ministers by Ramute Remezaite, legal consultant for EHRAC: first and second

  • Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

Rasul Jafarov is an Azerbaijani human rights defender and Chairman of the Human Rights Club whose arrest and pre-trial detention in August 2014 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found unlawful and aimed 'to silence and punish the applicant for his activities in the area of human rights’ (violations of Articles 5 and 18, and 34 of the Convention). The Government of Azerbaijan has so far failed to take any individual measures to implement the judgment. It has not yet paid the compensation of €25,000 indicated by the ECtHR despite the deadline of 4 October 2016. The Supreme Court dismissed Jafarov's appeal to re-examine the criminal case that led to his conviction on the basis that the ECtHR judgment of 17 March 2016 is a `newly discovered fact` provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code of Azerbaijan.

At the briefing on 20 February 2017, information on the latest developments in the case was provided by Ramute Remezaite, Legal Consultant of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre representing Rasul Jafarov before the ECtHR. 

At the briefing on 5 September 2017, Prof. Philip Leach, legal representative of Rasul Jafarov and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), argued that the criminal proceedings that led to Jafarov’s conviction should be re-opened on the basis of the Court’s judgment so that a full restitution is achieved. Prof. Leach introduced an opinion of a leading criminal law expert Julian B. Knowles QC at Matrix Chambers suggesting that the findings of the Court in Jafarov’s case arguing that the whole criminal case against him was politically motivated, and accordingly that Mr Jafarov`s conviction was based on procedural errors or shortcomings `of such gravity that a serious doubt is cast on the legitimacy of his conviction`. EHRAC submission of 1 September 2014 and the opinion can be found here.

At the briefing on 20 May 2019, Prof. Philip Leach explained that the Court’s finding in the case of Mr Jafarov were extremely strong, as they stated that the criminal proceedings were designed to silence and punish him. Therefore, the CM should specifically order for the damages to be paid in full, and for the criminal case to be re-opened. You can find a video (from May 2019) from Mr Jafarov explaining his case here.