The co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC) and Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), have welcomed the release of Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Mehman Huseynov.
Mr Huseynov, a video-blogger, had been detained since March 2017 on defamation charges, after he had published a series of articles revealing cases of alleged corruption and torture by Azerbaijani officials. Fresh charges against him, brought in December 2018, were dropped in January 2019.
“This has been too long coming, but it is very good news,” said the two co-rapporteurs. “We have long considered Mr Huseynov – whom we have visited in prison in the past – to be a political prisoner, and his release comes as a great relief. We express our hope that he can now resume his lawful profession as a journalist, and as President of the Institute of Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, without fear or interference from the state.”