Strasbourg, 23.04.2014 – “Freedom of expression, assembly and association are regrettably deteriorating in Azerbaijan. I once again call on the authorities to pay urgent attention to these issues so as to comply with Azerbaijan’s human rights obligations and commitments as a member state of the Council of Europe” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing his observations on the human rights situation in the country, which follows upon his report published in August 2013.
“Unjustified and selective criminal prosecution of people expressing dissenting views, including journalists, bloggers and activists, continues unabated. This is unacceptable. All those who are detained because of the views they expressed must be released.”
The Commissioner deplores in particular a series of arrests reportedly based on charges which lack credibility. This includes the arrests of Parviz Hashimli, a journalist with the Bizim Yol newspaper, online activist Abdul Abilov and blogger Omar Mammadov. The Commissioner is also concerned by the recent conviction of the journalist, academic and minority rights defender Hilal Mammadov, as well as of Tofig Yagublu, deputy chair of the opposition political party Musavat and journalist with the Yeni Musavat newspaper, and Ilgar Mammadov, Chair of the Republican Alternative Civic Movement. “Another disturbing example of intimidation of the press is the case of Khadija Ismayilova, a journalist known for her investigations into corruption, who was repeatedly questioned by the Prosecutor General’s office in February 2014”. (more...)
Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe