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Life with the Fear of Being Expelled from Georgia and Being Tortured

27.06.2017

Photo: Press-conference of Dashgin Agararl and the lawyers of Human Rights Center
Lana Giorgidze

Azerbaijani politician Dashgin Agararli has been sheltering Georgia for the third year already. With the legal assistance of Human Rights Center, he was freed from Georgian prison, but since then he has been living under permanent fear of being extradited to Baku. As he said, this fear particularly reinforced after his friend journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted from Tbilisi.

Dashgin Agararli is member of the Azerbaijani political party Musavat, who, because of his political affiliations and active criticism, was persecuted by the Azerbaijani authority for years. In 2013, like other political activists, the Government accused him in the evasion of taxes while he did not work for any private company at all.

In 2014 Dashgin Agararli was arrested in Georgia when he arrived here from Turkey; he had intention to seek political asylum in Georgia. With the legal aid of Human Rights Center, in 2014 he was released from prison. In March of 2014, Dashgin Aghalarli applied the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia for refugee status for him and his son. On August 5, 2014, the organization, together with partner organizations, disseminated statement with the request of refugee status and refugee shelter for Dashgin Agararli.
“Human Rights House Tbilisi and its member organizations consider that Dashgin Agararl must be granted political asylum and status of refugee; he must not be transferred to the state of Azerbaijan considering reasonable fear that he might become victim of political persecution in Azerbaijan. Transferring him to government of Azerbaijan might endanger his life and health as well. We are calling on the Minister of IDPs, Accommodation and Refugees, Sozar Subar, to consider health state of Dashgin Agararl, to assess the dangers threatening his life and security in Azerbaijan, to analyze severe state of human rights in Azerbaijan and to make decision and grant him with the political asylum and status of refugee,” the statement of the HRHT and its member organizations reads.
The lawyer at Human Rights Center Eka Kobesashvili, who defends Dashgin Agararl’s rights, said the Ministry of Refugees discussed his application through blatant violation of time limitations. On October 30, 2015 the Ministry did not satisfy their application based on the conclusion of the Counter-Intelligence Department of Georgia. 

“The same decision of the Ministry states that if Dashgin Agararli returns to Azerbaijan, he may become subject of the political persecution. Afterwards, the Tbilisi City Court annulled the ungrounded and the illegal refusal of the Ministry and ordered the Ministry of Refugees to grant the refugee status to Dashgin Agararli and his son. After the court judgment, the persecution and physical oppression on Dashgin Agararli has intensified,” the lawyer at Human Rights Center Eka Kobesashvili said. 
She added that on September 6, 2016 two different persons contacted Dashgin Agararl and asked meeting. 

“Two different unidentified people called him on the phone and asked meeting in a square in Tbilisi. One of the persons introduced himself as representative of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the second said he represented the State Security Service. Both institutions later denied that their representatives had contacted Dashgin Agararli but none of them got interested to find out who contacted the Azerbaijani political activist. 

It is noteworthy that after these incidents, the Tbilisi Appeal Court annulled the decision of the Tbilisi City Court based on the conclusion of the Counter-Intelligence Department and refused Dashgin Agararli to receive refugee status in Georgia,” Eka Kobesashvili said.

Human Rights Center again protested the persecution fact of the Azerbaijani activist and blamed the Georgian law enforcement bodies, in particularly the State Security Service, in the alleged participation in the persecution, illegal surveillance and extradition of the Azerbaijani activists.  

Dashgin Agararl and other refugees from Azerbaijan have reinforced their feeling of fear after Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted in Tbilisi.

“After the criminal abduction of the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli and extradition to Baku the Azerbaijani HRDs residing in Georgia have become more cautious about their security that is reinforced by illegal surveillance and chasing from identified people in Georgia – most probably the representatives of the Georgian State Security Service. Human Rights Center defends rights of Dashgin Agarlarli, who states that currently he is absolutely unprotected and is under the risk of being abducted like his friend Afgan Mukhtarli. Human Rights Center calls on: the Ministry of Internal Affairs and State Security Service of Georgia  to take all relevant measures to defend the right to life and security of Dashgin and Orkhan Agararlis; the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to open investigation into the September 6, 2016 incident when allegedly the representatives of the MIA and State Security Service called Dashgin Agararli and to punish all persons under the law who tried to intimidate the Azerbaijani activist; the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Justice of Georgia to issue temporary identification card to Dashgin and Orkhan Agararlis; the Human Rights and Civic Integration Parliamentary Committee to get interested in the cases of Dashgin and Orkhan Agararli and ensure the defense of their rights and safety within framework of their competence,” the June 8 statement of Human Rights Center reads. 

After the petition of Dashgin Agararl and the human rights organization, on June 20, the Migration Department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia issued decision to cancel the issue of expelling the citizens of Azerbaijan Dashgin Agararli and Orkhan Agararli from Georgia. They will receive temporary identification cards.

“We kindly notify you that the migration department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs studied the petition of Azerbaijani citizen Dashgin Agararli, who applied for the permission on temporary residence in Georgia in accordance to the Article 60 of the Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons. He also claimed similar residence permit for his son Orkhan Agararl. Upon their applications, having considered the enclosed documents and obtained information, the MIA migration department passed decision on June 20, 2017 with regard to the petitions of the Azerbaijani citizens Dashgin Agararl and Orkhan Agararl – to cancel the issue of having them expelled from the territory of Georgia,” the statement of the MIA migration department reads.  

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