25 January 2019, 08:45
PACE Rapporteur counts 130 political prisoners in Azerbaijan
Ms Thorhild Sunna Evarsdottir, the Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has presented a list of Azerbaijani political prisoners. She intends to visit Azerbaijan and listen to the position of country's authorities on each of the 130 cases.
The PACE memorandum notes that the problem of political prisoners was already causing concern when Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001.
Ms Evarsdottir has highlighted the cases of Mekhman Guseinov, Afghan Mukhtarly and a number of other journalists and bloggers. She also treats the members of the "Muslim Unity" movement, headed by Talekh Bagirzade, as political prisoners.
Many oppositionists were convicted on charges of hooliganism and drug possession, although the real reason for their persecution was their participation in protests and criticism of the authorities, the PACE's report says. The cases of youth activists Giyas Ibragimov, Bairam Mamedov, Elgiz Gakhramanov and Ilkin Rustamzade are named as landmark ones.
Those convicted for protests in the cities of Ismailly, Siyazan and Mingyachevir have been also mentioned.
Rasul Djafarov, the head of the Human Rights Club, believes that not only the PACE, but also other structures of the Council of Europe – the Committee of Ministers, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) – should influence the official Baku in solving the problem of political prisoners.
In his opinion, political prisoners can be released by the conditional early relief (CER), pardoning, or by an act of amnesty.
Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent