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PACE monitors call on Azerbaijan authorities to immediately release Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Azerbaijan, Ian Liddell-Grainger (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Lise Christoffersen (Norway, SOC), have expressed profound concern over the continuing detention of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, a well-known Azerbaijani civil activist who was arrested on 9 December 2022 on charges of hooliganism and contempt of court.

“Mr Hajiyev`s ongoing detention is widely believed to be connected to his activism,” they pointed out. “Repeated refusals to replace it by alternative constraint measures are completely disproportionate to the charges brought against him. Moreover, his state of health raises the utmost concern.”

“Unfortunately, Mr Hajiyev`s case illustrates a ‘troubling pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of government critics, civil society activists and human rights defenders through retaliatory prosecution and misuse of criminal law in defiance of the rule of law’, as a recent judgement from the European Court of Human Rights has put it,” they added.

“We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Mr Bakhtiyar Hajiyev and ensure his full access to appropriate medical care.”