Ilgar Mamedov talks to journalists near his house. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the Caucasia Knot

16 August 2018, 14:21

Western powers call on Baku to release activists and journalists

The USA, the European Union and the Council of Europe, while welcoming the release of Ilgar Mamedov, the leader of the Republican Alternative (ReAl) Party in Azerbaijan, have urged official Baku to release all the persons arrested for the implementation of their fundamental freedoms.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on August 13, the appellate instance decided to replace Mamedov's remaining term in prison for conditional punishment. However, the court refused to acquit him, said his advocate; and the defence intends to file a cassation appeal to the country's Supreme Court.

Ilgar Mamedov was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of organizing protests among residents of the city of Ismayilli. On November 16, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found violation of Mamedov's right to a fair trial and decided that he should receive compensation in the amount of 10,000 euros.

The release of Mamedov was welcomed by the USA, which stated that the imprisonment of the oppositionist "caused serious concern regarding the observance of the rule of law in Azerbaijan."

"We call on the government [of Azerbaijan] to abandon the accusations against him [Mamedov] in accordance with Azerbaijan's international obligations and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)," says the statement by Heather Nauert, the spokesperson of the US State Department, posted on the Department's website on August 15.

She stressed that the USA also calls on the Azerbaijani authorities "to release all other persons who were imprisoned for exercising their fundamental freedoms."

Liliana Mori-Pasquier, the PACE President, has also welcomed the decision of the Sheki Court of Appeal in Azerbaijan to release Mamedov.

"We must also remember that there are other people in Azerbaijan arrested for political reasons; and I call on the authorities to release them," Ms Mori-Pasquier has stated.

Maja Kocijančić, the spokesperson for the EU High Representative for External Relations and Security, has called for full implementation of the ECtHR's decision on Mamedov.

"The European Union, in accordance with the obligations of the country [Azerbaijan] as a member of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, expects the release and acquittal of all persons in Azerbaijan, arrested or restricted in freedom of travel for political reasons," the Azerbaijani service of Radio Liberty quotes Ms Kocijančić as saying.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 16, 2018 at 08:35 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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