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Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: What follow-up on respect for human rights?

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 13484 | 08 April 2014

Mr Michael McNAMARA, Ireland, SOC ; Mr Claude ADAM, Luxembourg, SOC ; Ms Luise AMTSBERG, Germany, SOC ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Ingrid ANTIČEVIĆ MARINOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Ms Khadija ARIB, Netherlands, SOC ; Lord Richard BALFE, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Joe BENTON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Eka BESELIA, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Mr Marek BOROWSKI, Poland, SOC ; Ms Bernadette BOURZAI, France, SOC ; Mr Vannino CHITI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Paolo CORSINI, Italy, SOC ; Mr David CRAUSBY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Yves CRUCHTEN, Luxembourg, SOC ; Mr Jim DOBBIN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Josette DURRIEU, France, SOC ; Ms Ute FINCKH-KRÄMER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Gvozden Srećko FLEGO, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Jean-Claude FRÉCON, France, SOC ; Mr Andreas GROSS, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Annette GROTH, Germany, UEL ; Mr Jonas GUNNARSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Nazmi GÜR, Turkey, UEL ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Margus HANSON, Estonia, ALDE ; Mr Davit HARUTYUNYAN, Armenia, EDG ; Ms Gabriela HEINRICH, Germany, SOC ; Mr Jim HOOD, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Arpine HOVHANNISYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Mr Michael Aastrup JENSEN, Denmark, ALDE ; Ms Liana KANELLI, Greece, UEL ; Ms Alev KORUN, Austria, SOC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Pierre-Yves LE BORGN', France, SOC ; Ms Kerstin LUNDGREN, Sweden, ALDE ; Ms Marit MAIJ, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Vesna MARJANOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, France, SOC ; Mr Robert NEILL, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Nicos NICOLAIDES, Cyprus, SOC ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr John PRESCOTT, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Lord John E. TOMLINSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Konstantinos TRIANTAFYLLOS, Greece, SOC ; Ms Ester TUIKSOO, Estonia, ALDE ; Ms Nycole TURMEL, Canada ; Mr Snorre Serigstad VALEN, Norway, UEL ; Mr Nikolaj VILLUMSEN, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Klaas de VRIES, Netherlands, SOC

In Resolution 1900 (2012) the Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed its support for the definition of a “political prisoner”, elaborated within the Council of Europe in 2001 by the independent experts of the Secretary General, mandated to assess cases of alleged political prisoners in Armenia and Azerbaijan in the context of their accession.

In Resolution 1917 (2013) the Assembly called on Azerbaijan to:

  • review the cases of human rights defenders, activists and journalists detained on criminal charges following trials whose conformity with human rights standards has been called into question by civil society and the international community;
  • use all available legal tools to release those prisoners whose detention gives rise to justified doubts and legitimate concerns;
  • release on humanitarian grounds alleged political prisoners whose state of health raises concern;
  • fully implement the resolutions of the Assembly related to alleged political prisoners in Azerbaijan;
Since that Resolution was passed, there has been an increase in arrests and detentions of persons active in political and public life in Azerbaijan with seven-year jail sentences handed down to two opposition politicians, Ilgar Mammadov, the leader of the Republican Alternative Movement, who is also the Director of the Council of Europe School of Political Studies in Baku, and Tofiq Yagubli, the deputy head of the Musavat Party, and the pre-trial detention of Anar Mammadli, the head of the Election Monitoring and Democratic Studies Centre (EMDS).

In the light of its forthcoming chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, it is essential to address concerns regarding the implementation of fundamental freedoms and, especially, politically motivated detention, in Azerbaijan.

The Assembly is, therefore, duty-bound to follow-up on these arrests and detentions in Azerbaijan.