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Azerbaijan: concern at announcement of jail sentence on two opposition politicians

Strasbourg, 21.03.2014 - Pedro Agramunt (Spain, EPP/CD) and Joseph Debono Grech (Malta, SOC), Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan, today expressed their serious concern at the announcement by the court of a seven-year jail sentence, on charges of inciting the Ismaili protests, on 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.

“The charges and judgments give rise to justified doubts, particularly in the light of alleged irregularities in the judicial procedure reported by international and national observers,” they said.

“We urge the relevant Azerbaijani authorities to review the court’s decision in accordance with all available legal instruments. In the light of the forthcoming chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, it is essential to eliminate all concerns with regard to politically motivated justice,” the co-rapporteurs stressed.

“We will follow closely this and other similar cases, including during our visit to Baku, planned to take place ahead of the scheduled handing over of the Council of Europe chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers by Azerbaijan”, they concluded.