Civil society call on PACE to appoint a Rapporteur to examine the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
Representatives of 42 international and national non-governmental organizations issue the appeal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to request the appointment of a Rapporteur to examine the situation of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
Civil society groups report that today there are at least 100 prisoners held on politically motivated charges in Azerbaijan. Among them are dozens of religious activists, at least nine journalists, editors and bloggers as well as members of the political opposition, human rights defenders and several persons who have been imprisoned in retaliation for the actions of their relatives who have fled the country.
The most notable cases include the continued imprisonment of former opposition Presidential candidate Ilgar Mammadov, investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, the leader of Muslim Unity Movement Tale Baghirzade, and Mehman Huseynov, young blogger and journalist who documented corruption among high-ranking government officials through his YouTube posts.
It is time for PACE to take decisive action to tackle the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan in order to hold the authorities accountable for implementing the commitments undertaken upon the country’s accession to the Council of Europe in 2001.
Resuming the work started by Christopher Strässer will send a first strong signal to the Azerbaijani authorities to demonstrate that the Assembly will not tolerate a continuation of this systematic repressive practice which has no place in a Council of Europe Member State. As politically motivated imprisonment violates the underlying principles of the Council of Europe, appointing a Rapporteur with the mandate to investigate the issue and make recommendations is consistent with the mandate of the organisation.