Civil so­ci­ety call on PACE to ap­point a Rap­por­teur to ex­am­ine the is­sue of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers in Azer­bai­jan

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

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.

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