On April 2, 2018 the investigating judge of the Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv ruled against extending the preventive measure in the form of personal guarantee in regards to the extradition of the subject of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Fikrat Huseynov at the request of a foreign state. He is no longer obligated to answer the summons of the prosecutor or court, to refrain from leaving Kyiv without the prosecutor’s consent, or to allow Kyiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office to hold his Dutch passport.
Despite this, Prosecutor Serhiy Ostapets took Fikrat Huseynov’s passport from the secretary of the court and left the courtroom without waiting to hear the verdict. This is a second time when Kyiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office illegally confiscates the passport from the subject of the Netherlands.
Fikrat Huseynov (Huseynli) is a well-known Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist. Over the past one and a half years, independent and oppositionist media in Azerbaijan have been persecuted by the government, which is trying to stifle criticism voiced by over a dozen independent journalists, with some of them having been subjected to physical assault at the hands of unidentified individuals. After its May visit to Azerbaijan, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions reported that such detentions of human rights defenders, journalists, political and religious leaders are continuing in the country.
In regards to Fikrat Huseynov’s case, it is known that on October 14, 2017 he was detained by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine at the international airport Boryspil, and on October 17 he was arrested by the Boryspilskyi District Court for 18 days for subsequent extradition.
A week before his arrest, on October 6, 2017, Fikrat Huseynov arrived in Ukraine without any trouble to open an office of the oppositionist Azerbaijani satellite TV channel Turan.TV. According to Mr. Huseynov, security services have been following him throughout his stay in Ukraine. As it turned out, he had been put on the international list of wanted person during his time in Ukraine at the request of Azerbaijan.
This country’s government claims that F. Huseynov left the country in 2008 to arrange illegal emigration of certain citizens from Azerbaijan. In truth, Mr. Huseynov ended up outside Azerbaijan after he had been kidnapped, brutally beaten and wounded in the neck with a knife. Investigation was quickly silenced, but the circumstances of this incident were included in the text of the PACE Resolution No. 1505 (2006) on the challenge of credentials of the parliamentary delegation of Azerbaijan.
On October 27, 2017 Fikrat Huseynov was released from custody by the Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv, vouched for by People’s Deputy and Head of Parliamentary Committee on Culture and Religion Mykola Knyazhytskyi and Director of the Advocacy Center of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Borys Zakharov. The Dutch passport (the Azerbaijani activist had been granted the refugee status and citizenship of this state) had been illegally kept by the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and taken at a court order.
According to the official reply from the Department of International Police Cooperation of Ukraine’s National Police, Fikrat Huseynov was removed from Interpol’s list of wanted persons, since Azerbaijan’s request did not comply with Interpol’s Constitution.
According to the Azerbaijani journalist himself, there was an attempt to kidnap him in Kyiv on March 5, 2018.
In light of the above, we demand to put a stop to helping the government of Azerbaijan in the persecution of journalist and human rights activist Fikrat Huseynov, to immediately execute the decision of the Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv of April 2, 2018 in the case No. 757/15595/18-k, and to immediately return to Fikrat Huseynov his Dutch passport. We also ask to conduct a proper legal assessment of the actions of prosecutor Serhiy Ostapets and to take measures to prevent such situations from happening again in the future.
People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Head of Parliamentary Committee on Culture and Religion, vouchor Mykola Knyazhytskyi
Director of UHHRU Advocacy Center, vouchor Borys Zakharov
President of the Charity Foundation “Pravo na zakhyst” Oleksandr Galkin
UHHRU Executive Director Oleksandr Pavlichenko
Director of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group Yevhen Zakharov