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Старый 22.06.2012, 19:37   #1788
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http://www.rferl.org/articleprintview/1338055.html

Tough Azerbaijani Defense Lawyer Takes Aim At Injustice, Corruption

by Khadija Ismayilova

BAKU -- Isakhan Ashurov is one of the most prominent defense lawyers in Azerbaijan, yet he has very few successful cases in his portfolio.

In fact, most of his clients are serving prison terms.

"The number of cases I have lost in Azerbaijani courts is not important to me," Ashurov says, "since I know the verdicts are decided before the cases have been launched."

What matters, he says, is “whether I am able to defeat the propaganda machine of the government and save the reputation of the person [I am defending], who is facing not only a corrupt court but also a mostly government-controlled media, which tries to justify the unfair court decisions. It is much more important to win the process, no matter what the sentence is."


Azerbaijan may be rich in oil and natural gas, but it's seriously lacking in its commitment to democratic practices, human rights, free speech, and an independent press.

In its latest country reports, the U.S. State Department criticizes the former Soviet republic for pervasive corruption in the judiciary and in law enforcement, and for its deteriorating commitment to media freedom, freedom of assembly, and political participation.

In such an environment, Ashurov, currently chairman of the League for Independent Lawyers, often defends controversial, high-profile clients who have been turned away by other lawyers, either because there's no money to be made in their cases or because of possible risk to their careers.

Or their lives.

Ashurov, 53, routinely receives death threats due to his choice of clients and his willingness to speak out.

A former police chief famous both for his honesty and his short temper, Ashurov has also become known as a critic of corruption in law enforcement, a stance also unlikely to win him many friends.

“Who likes Ashurov?" asks political analyst Hikmet Hajizadeh, director of the pro-democracy FAR Center. "Almost everyone does, except those who have heard from him the truth to their face. He is unlikely to compromise his principles. These days, there is a deficit of these type of people. But if we have too many Ashurovs, the system may collapse."........... ................................... .............................. ...................... ......... ...........................................



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