Tag Archives: coe

Jagland raises concerns about journalist Golunov case

 

 

 

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has made the following statement with regard to the situation of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Russia:

I am very much concerned and saddened by reports coming from Moscow alleging that investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was subjected to violence and injured by police forces while in custody in a Moscow police station.

Violence by police during investigation procedures is absolutely prohibited by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Russian Federation is party.

Moreover, the fact that Mr Golunov claims that evidence against him was manipulated raises even greater suspicion over the current situation.

Taking into account the particular gravity of the alleged facts, I call on the Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, Mr Kolokoltsev, to personally address this situation.

I also hope that Human Rights Commissioner Moskalkova will look into these allegations.

Freedom of expression and the right to security are fundamental in a democratic society and law enforcement bodies must also defend these values.”

Spokesperson of the European External Action Service also made a statement, underlining that the European Union relevant institutuios follows closely the case of journalist Godunov, arrested in Moscow.

AMENDMENT:

British Forign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement via his Twitter microblog on the arrest of Ivan Golunov. He also mentioned “fear of retribution” among  negative effects on practice of investigative journalism in Russia in general.

AMENDEMNET:

According to Golunov’s lawyer Chikov claims his client suffered from police brutalty, being beaten at his arrival to custody. He added paramedics suspected Golunov had suffered broken ribs, bruising and a concussion, and that “police chiefs” were refusing his hospitalisation

AMENDEMENT

Today the international organisation Reporters without borders (RSF) launched  mobiliseation to manifest in front of Russian Embassy in Paris, demanding liberation of Golunov, and dropping all charges against him.

 

AMENDEMENT

Europe outlaws sharia

The resolution was passed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which meets four times a year to set the agenda of the international assembly. The parliamentarians noted with ‘great concern‘ that three member states, Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey, have endorsed explicitly or implicitly, the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

Moreover the assembly is  ‘greatly concerned‘ about the fact that sharia, including provisions that contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, is applied either officially or unofficially in member states.

In the UK, ‘sharia councils attempt to provide a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby members of the Muslim community, sometimes voluntarily, often under considerable social pressure, accept their religious jurisdiction mainly in marital and Islamic divorce issues, but also in matters relating to inheritance and Islamic commercial contracts,‘ the resolution states.

The body that oversees the European Convention on Human Rights has named the UK – along with Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey – in a hard-hitting resolution highlighting conflicts between sharia law and universal human rights. A measure adopted last night by the 47-nation Council of Europe raises concerns about the role of sharia councils in family, inheritence and commercial law.

Rulings of sharia councils ‘clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases’, the resolution states. It calls on the UK to make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to register their marriages civilly before or at the same time as their religious ceremony.

The Assembly welcomes recommendations put forward in last year’s independent report into the application of sharia in England and Wales and calls on the UK to ensure councils operate within the law ‘especially as it relates to the prohibition of discrimination against women, and respect all procedural rights‘.

It sets a deadline of June 2020 for the UK to report back on reviewing the Marriage Act to make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to register their marriages civically, as is required for Christian and Jewish marriages.

Russia on brink of Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (CoE) member states will have to make a decision reacting upon Russia’s refusal to resume payments to the organization’s budget, while there is a scenario that Moscow will be requested to leave the Council, Secretary General of the CoE Thorbjorn Jagland said.

“The matter is now urgent. Our member states will soon have to take a decision on Russia’s non-payment. This procedure could lead to Russia being asked to leave. It is not too late to prevent RUXIT. I am appealing to our governments to take their responsibility seriously and to find a solution with Russia. There must be a dialogue at the highest level for the conference of Foreign Ministers in Helsinki in May 2019,” Jagland told reporters.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Russia will stay in Council of Europe

Russia will not quit the Council of Europe, because this platform is essential for upholding its national interests, Russia’s CoE envoy Ivan Soltanovsky told Izvestia newspaper.

“Right now, Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe is off the table. Our work there has not been interrupted. On the contrary, we are actively promoting the position of building a united Europe without dividing lines. We are actively involved in the work of such bodies as the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and the European Court of Human Rights. Efforts are underway along various lines, specifically, fighting drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, and (supporting) legal cooperation, sports and cultural issues,” Russian diplomat said.

“All crises end sooner or later. We all know perfectly well that it is easy to slam the door (and leave), but it’s far more difficult to return,Soltanovsky added.

According to the envoy, those forces, which seek to demonize Russia and use all available means for that objective, are currently working overtime in the West. “Unfortunately, the Council of Europe is not immune to this development. We believe that the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of some of its rights precisely in this context. All that can have far-reaching consequences for the organization, and we have drawn our partners’ attention to that,” the diplomat concluded.

 

 

“Endemic” police torture in Azerbaijan

Torture in Azerbaijan by police and other law enforcement agencies is “systemic and endemic,” according to a report from the Council of Europe’s torture prevention body.

The report by The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), based on six visits to Azerbaijan from 2004 through 2017, documented repeated cases of “severe physical ill-treatment” of detainees, including some as young as 15. The cases appeared to follow a consistent pattern: mostly occurring in police establishments, during the initial hours of detentions, to coerce confessions or other testimonies.

The torture methods ranged from slaps, kicks, and truncheon blows to beatings on the soles of a suspended victim’s feet and the use of electric shocks.

The CPT also found that perpetrators get away with torture because of a lack of effective investigations and insufficient legal safeguards. Human Rights Watch research has also shown that in Azerbaijan, detainees are often denied access to lawyers of their choosing, and even if complaints are made of serious ill-treatment, the investigations almost never result in anyone being held to account.

Publicizing police abuse can invite official retaliation. Mehman Huseynov, one of Azerbaijan’s most popular bloggers, is serving a two-year prison term on grounds that he “defamed” police officers because he went public about the ill-treatment he had suffered in custody. A group of disguised in civilian cloths officers attacked Huseynov, blindfolded and gagged him, forced a bag over his head, used an electroshock weapon on his groin, and punched him, bloodying his nose. The investigation into Huseynov allegations was swiftly closed after a summary finding that they were groundless.

While the Committee found some improvements, such as renovations of old and building of new prisons, many problems persisted, including overcrowding, lack of meaningful activities for inmates, inadequate medical care, rampant corruption, and a “generalized culture of violence” among prison staff.

Azerbaijan is party to multiple human rights treaties, including the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees. Azerbaijan’s agreement to publish the Committee’s report – as is required – is an important step. But not enough. Azerbaijan’s leadership should make an unequivocal public statement of “zero tolerance” for torture and other forms of ill-treatment and ensure prompt and effective investigations into all such allegations.

Earlier this month the European Parliament expressed the opinion of MEPs, requesting improvement of human rights situation.

Council of Europe urges to investigate Spanish police violence

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, urged Spanish home affairs minister, José Ignacio Zoido, to investigate Spain’s police actions during the October 1 referendum. In a letter sent on October 4 to the Spanish home affairs minister, Muiznieks called for an “independent and effective” investigation into Spain’s police violence which aimed to block the independence referendum.

The Commissioner also stressed that Spanish police use of force against voters was “disproportionate” and “unnecessary” and claimed that starting an investigation into police violence on referendum day should help to prevent an “escalation of tension and violence” and to preserve confidence in civil servants.

Zoido responded to the Commissioner on October 6. The Spanish home affairs minister stated that Spain’s police action was “cautious, appropriate and proportioned in order to ensure compliance with the law and the protection of the rights and freedoms of all citizens.”