“I deplore the sentencing today of Khadija Ismayilova to seven and a half years in prison. I have already expressed serious doubts on several occasions about the credibility of the charges against her. Today’s sentence is manifestly disproportionate and raises serious concerns, given the systemic problems with the lack of independence of the judiciary and fairness of trials in Azerbaijan,” said PACE President Anne Brasseur.
“The crackdown on civil society, human rights defenders and independent journalists must stop and I urge the Azerbaijani authorities to take a step back. The authorities’ willingness to respect the fundamental values of the Council of Europe is now seriously in question, and I will raise this issue tomorrow with Azerbaijan’s Speaker of Parliament Ogtay Asadov, whom I am meeting on the margins of the 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament,” she concluded.