Azerbaijani activists propose tougher punishment for domestic violence
Punishment for domestic violence in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani human rights activists have made proposals to toughen penalties for domestic violence in the country. It is proposed to increase the amount of fines for acts of violence, as well as introduce imprisonment for repeated offences. According to the expert, the proposed amendments will not lead to significant changes in society, because fines are not only punishing the criminal, but also the entire family, including the victims.
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Azerbaijani human rights activists from the Institute of Citizens’ Rights (IPR) have prepared a draft proposal for the country’s legislation to prevent domestic violence and bring it into line with international human rights standards.
Compliance with international standards
As the head of the IGG, Bashir Suleymanli, told Turan, in order to comply with the requirements of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), certain articles of laws were changed and supplemented with new provisions.
According to the human rights activist, the proposed amendments are aimed at providing victims with reliable protection, severe punishment of the perpetrators and encouraging the state to fulfill its obligations.
What is offered?
The authors of proposals for amendments to the legislation propose to expand the very concept of “domestic violence”.
Currently it means the intentional infliction of physical or moral harm by close relatives, but it is proposed to consider the infliction of psychological and economic damage, as well as threats and coercion of a sexual nature, as violence.
Domestic violence will also include actions aimed at a prohibition on work, study and violation of other economic rights.
The Institute of Citizens’ Rights proposes to consider media reports as grounds for investigations. According to them, it is also necessary to establish a 24-hour hotline for consultations for persons who have experienced domestic violence.
Fines and imprisonment
Amendments have been proposed to the Code of Administrative Offenses to provide for a fine of 300 to 600 manats [$176-352] for violating economic rights or access to education.
If such actions are repeated, the fine is increased from 2,500 to 5,000 manats [$1,470 – 2,940].
If these actions are committed with the use of physical force, then arrest is required for up to 30 days.
It is proposed to establish a new paragraph in Article 133.1-1 “beatings”, which provides for imprisonment from 2 to 4 years for beatings and mental torture on the basis of domestic violence.
From 3 to 5 years in prison is offered for unlawful imprisonment on the grounds of domestic violence. It is also proposed to establish a new liability for persecution for the purpose of sexual violence.
Rape motivated by domestic violence will be punishable by imprisonment from 5 to 10 years.
According to the editor of the Azerbaijani edition of JAMnews Hussein Ismayilbayli, the proposed amendments to the legislation to toughen penalties for domestic violence will not lead to anything significant.
“You have to understand that the situation with domestic violence in Azerbaijan remains difficult not only because of the lack of a strict system of punishments. It is necessary to take into account a whole range of circumstances. This is the mentality of people, the degree of their education, the ability to live independently of the head of the family, and much more.
First, many do not report facts of domestic violence to law enforcement agencies. This is the desire not to make it public, and the fear of consequences – not only from the offende himself, but also from close relatives and family members.
Secondly, fines, i.e. monetary punishment is a punishment not only for the offender, but for the whole family as well, including the victim. What does it mean? Let me give you a fresh example.
The other day, a woman complained to the police about her violent husband, who threatened her and her daughter with physical violence. The police took the drunk man away and fined him a significant amount. I don’t know how the fine was justified, perhaps for violating public order.
And who did they punish? The offender himself, or the whole family, including the affected women? In the proposals such amounts are called that, without exaggeration, this is the family budget of many, sometimes for several months.
Imprisonment is also a double-edged sword. For many families, this means the loss of a breadwinner.
Thus, education, a woman’s willingness to live independently, comes to the fore. Let’s be honest, the vast majority are not ready for this.
Yes, it is necessary to fight domestic violence, but for this it is necessary to approach the problem in a comprehensive manner. Punishments alone cannot solve the problem”, Ismayilbayli said.