09 September 2017, 22:28

PACE Committee criticizes human rights situation in Azerbaijan

After release of information about attempts of Azerbaijani ruling elite to bribe members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), its Monitoring Committee has called on the country to ensure a due balance of power branches, create conditions for the activities of the opposition and civil society institutions, and free unlawfully imprisoned persons.

On September 4, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) published a report stating that in 2012-2014 Azerbaijani authorities paid for the services of lobbyists of their interests in the European Union (EU). However, the country’s rights defenders and oppositionists, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", believe that this money had yielded no fruit on the international arena.

On September 7, at its sitting in Paris, the above Monitoring Committee adopted a resolution calling on Baku to launch an independent inquiry into the bribery allegations.

"In recent years, Azerbaijan has intensified repressions against the contemplative position of the Council of Europe; the country has over 160 political prisoners; and in fact, independent civil society institutions and a free press have been liquidated," said Elshan Gasanov, the head of the Monitoring Centre for Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan.

In his turn, Samed Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, disagreed with the draft resolution. According to his version, it "consists mostly of criticism," and is supported by an attempt to exert "geopolitical pressure on Azerbaijan."

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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