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Criteria for the definition of a political prisoner

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12587 | 13 April 2011

Signatories:
Mr Agustín CONDE, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Tina ACKETOFT, Sweden, ALDE ; Mr Mario BARBI, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Laurent BÉTEILLE, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Stanislav FOŘT, Slovak Republic, ALDE ; Mr Marco GATTI, San Marino, EPP/CD ; Mr Ljubo GERMIČ, Slovenia, ALDE ; Mr Paolo GIARETTA, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Francis GRIGNON, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Mike HANCOCK, United Kingdom, ALDE ; Mr Tadeusz IWIŃSKI, Poland, SOC ; Mr Zmago JELINČIČ PLEMENITI, Slovenia, EDG ; Mr Franz Eduard KÜHNEL, Austria, EPP/CD ; Mr Jaakko LAAKSO, Finland, UEL ; Ms Kerstin LUNDGREN, Sweden, ALDE ; Mr Arminas LYDEKA, Lithuania, ALDE ; Mr Bernard MARQUET, Monaco, ALDE ; Ms Assunta MELONI, San Marino, ALDE ; Mr José MENDES BOTA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Patrick MORIAU, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Alejandro MUÑOZ-ALONSO, Spain, EPP/CD ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Mr Fritz NEUGEBAUER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Ms Elsa PAPADIMITRIOU, Greece, EPP/CD ; Mr Geir POLLESTAD, Norway, ALDE ; Mr Gabino PUCHE, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Andreja RIHTER, Slovenia, SOC ; Mr François ROCHEBLOINE, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Joan TORRES PUIG, Andorra, ALDE ; Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Mr Miltiadis VARVITSIOTIS, Greece, EPP/CD ; Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Italy, EPP/CD
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The Parliamentary Assembly considers that objective criteria should be set up how to identify a genuine political prisoner. The Assembly would then use those criteria as a reference for all reports related to allegations of the presence of political prisoners in a member state.

Although there are currently different definitions about who is to be considered as a political prisoner - according to different international bodies - the Assembly has never taken a decision in this matter. The sometimes mentioned document 1272/2002 is only referring to a specific country and there is not a general definition that could be used as an applicable rule in every member state. The absence of such a definition creates a serious risk for double standards and unwanted precedents, and may hamper the credibility of the Assembly.

For this reason clear criteria should be established to be respected by all member states. Because of their high importance, these criteria should be adopted by the Assembly before any report on political prisoners in a particular case or country is prepared, as a general definition has to be clear before, and not during or after, the preparation of an individual report.

In the interest of all member states of the Council of Europe, the process of establishing criteria for the definition of a political prisoner should be considered without delay.

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