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Monitors urge Azerbaijani authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations

The co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC) and Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC/DA), have expressed their grave concern about recent developments in Azerbaijan.

“We are deeply worried by the escalation of police violence against peaceful demonstrators,” they said, referring to reports of the brutal dispersion of protestors against the conduct of the snap parliamentary elections held on 9 February 2020.

“Allegations by Reporters Without Borders of obstruction and physical violence against journalists documenting the demonstrations are particularly worrying. All these cases must be investigated and those responsible must be prosecuted,” they added.

“The most recent reports regarding the detention of leaders of the extra-parliamentary opposition, Ilgar Mammadov (REAL), Arif Hajili (Musavat Party) and Mr Izzatly (D18), as well as reports that more than 100 activists – including Mehman Huseynov of the IRFS – have been detained ahead of an unauthorised protest in Baku, are of the utmost concern. This suppression of pluralism is wholly unacceptable, and should stop immediately,” they concluded, urging the Azerbaijani authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations as part of the democratic process.