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Rapporteurs welcome acquittals in Azerbaijan but regret the lack of independence of the judiciary

The co-rapporteurs on the monitoring of Azerbaijan by PACE, Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC) and Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC/DA), have welcomed the Azerbaijan Supreme Court's decision to terminate on acquittal grounds the charges against Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the opposition REAL Party, and Rasul Jafarov, lawyer and human rights defender.

“The acquittal of Mr Mammadov implements the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the violation of his basic human rights and, together with Mr Jafarov's acquittal, constitutes a step in the right direction,” said the monitoring co-rapporteurs.

"We cannot forget, however, that Mr Mammadov and Mr Jafarov have wrongly spent over 5 and 1.5 years respectively in prison following unfair trials based on trumped-up charges. Moreover, as a result of the unacceptable delay in the implementation of the European Court's 2014 decision, Mr Mammadov was prevented from running in the 2020 parliamentary elections."

"The lack of independence of the judiciary is a major problem in Azerbaijan and is having a calamitous impact on the democratic process,” they added.