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This report was researched by Peter Bouckaert, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, during two trips to Azerbaijan between September and December 2003. It was written by Peter Bouckaert and edited by Rachel Denber, acting executive director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch (ECA). The report was also reviewed by Veronika Leila Szente Goldston, advocacy director for ECA; James Ross, senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, and Iain Levine, program director for Human Rights Watch. Kristina Alessi, ECA associate, provided research, administrative, and technical assistance. Production assistance was provided by Andrea Holley, manager of outreach and publications, Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager, Veronica Matushaj, photo editor, and Jagdish Parikh, online communications content coordinator.

Human Rights Watch would like to thank the many individuals in Azerbaijan who contributed invaluably to this report, especially the victims of and witnesses to human rights abuses who courageously agreed to share their experiences with us. Unfortunately, current conditions in Azerbaijan do not permit us to thank them by name.

Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Open Society Institute for our work on the southern Caucasus.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to bring offenders to justice, to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom and to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.

We challenge governments and those holding power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.

We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Michele Alexander, development director; Carroll Bogert, associate director; Allison Adoradio, operations director, Barbara Guglielmo, finance director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels office director; Steve Crawshaw, London office director, Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director, Maria Pignataro Nielsen, human resources director; Iain Levine, program director; Wilder Tayler, legal and policy director; and Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative. Jane Olson is the chair of the board. Robert L. Bernstein is the founding chair.

Its Europe and Central Asia division was established in 1978 to monitor and promote domestic and international compliance with the human rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. It is affiliated with the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, which is based in Vienna, Austria. Rachel Denber is the acting executive director; Veronika Leila Szente Goldston is the advocacy director; Matilda Bogner, Julia Hall, Allison Gill, Bogdan Ivanisevic, Diederik Lohman, Acacia Shields, and Jonathan Sugden are researchers; Anna Neistat is the Moscow office director; Alexander Petrov is the Moscow office deputy director; Kristina Alessi, Liudmila Belova, Emily Letts, Anna Sinelnikova are associates. Peter Osnos is the chair of the advisory committee and Alice Henkin is vice chair.

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January 2004