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European Court Awards Azeri Oppositionist Damages

Sardar Calaloglu (file photo) (Turan) January 11, 2007 -- The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that an Azeri opposition leader was tortured in police custody following an antigovernment rally in 2003.

The court ordered Azerbaijan to pay him 10,000 euros (nearly $13,000) in damages.

MORE: An archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the October 2003 unrest in Azerbaijan.

Sardar Calaloglu, deputy chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, was arrested in October 2003 after riots sparked by the election of Ilham Aliyev to succeed his father, Heydar Aliyev, as president. The opposition considered the elections illegitimate.

Authorities cracked down on opposition leaders they blamed for the violence, and Calaloglu was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released early after getting a presidential pardon.

Calaloglu said he was tortured by masked men while in custody, which left him temporarily disabled.

The European Court upheld his complaint and ruled that Azeri authorities failed to properly investigate the incident.

(AP, Turan)

Human Rights In Azerbaijan

Human Rights In Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani parliamentarian and historian Jamil Hasanli speaking at RFE/RL on November 29 (RFE/RL)

THE CURSE OF OIL. On November 29, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a briefing on democratic development in Azerbaijan. The briefing featured liberal opposition lawmaker Jamil Hasanli and former political prisoner and activist Murad Sadaddinov. The two men discussed the international commitments Azerbaijan has made in the area of human rights in order to secure investment in its energy sector and offer advice as to how the international community should deal with Baku.


Listen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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RFE/RL's English-language coverage of Azerbaijan.


For a regular review of civil-society developments throughout RFE/RL's broadcast region, subscribe to "RFE/RL (Un)Civil Societies."

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