Strasbourg / 01/17/19 / Turan: 533 deputies of the European Parliament voted on January 17 "in favor" of a resolution called "The Case of Mehman Huseynov in Azerbaijan". Only 28 deputies spoke against the document.
The draft resolution was submitted to the European Parliament meeting by 23 deputies from the ALDE group with a request to discuss cases of violations of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Azerbaijan, and especially in the case of Mehman Huseynov.
The resolution numbered (2019/2511) states that the European Parliament takes into account all its previous resolutions on Azerbaijan on democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the ongoing EU-Azerbaijan negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement, as well as the statements of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the Committee on human rights Council of Europe on the case of the blogger Mehman Huseynov.
In this regard, the European Parliament condemns the prosecution of the blogger and the promotion of new trumped-up charges against him in order to extend his two-year prison term for another 5-7 years.
Further, the resolution lists facts testifying to repression against activists (Giyas Ibrahimov, Bayram Mammadov, Ilkin Rustamzade) and journalists (Khadija Ismayilova), suppression of rights of lawyers, reactionary amendments to legislation, blocking the activities of independent media including Radio Liberty, as well as refusal authorities to pay compensation to oppositionists and journalists, appointed by the decisions of the ECHR.
Against this background, the Azerbaijani authorities bribed a number of Council of Europe members to soften criticism of these violations.
Based on the principles of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan, the European Parliament:
1. Demands the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov and urges the Azerbaijani government to drop all new charges against him; expresses concern over his health and demands that the authorities provide him with urgent professional medical care;
2. Calls for an end to Azerbaijan"s crackdown on dissent and calls for the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, including journalists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists, including Afgan Mukhtarli, Ilkin Rustamzadeh, Rashad Ramazanov, Seymur Hazi, Giyas Ibrahimov, Mehman Huseynov, Bayram Mammadov, Ilgar Mammadov, Araz Guliyev, Tofig Hasanli, Ilgiz Qahramanov, Afgan Sadygov and others, including, but not limited to, those covered by the relevant judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and calls for all charges against them to be dropped, and for the full restoration of their political and civil rights, also extended to previously imprisoned and since released political prisoners such as Intigam Aliyev, Khadija Ismayilova and others;
3. Expresses concern over the new criminal charges brought against Khadija Ismayilova and calls for an end to the continuous harassment and intimidation against her, which is detrimental to freedom of expression in the country;
4. Is particularly alarmed about the human rights defenders" reports on cases of physical violence and torture while in custody;
5. Urges the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure that independent civil society groups and activists can operate without undue hindrance or fear of persecution, including by repealing the laws restricting civil society activities, unfreezing bank accounts of non-governmental groups and their leaders, and allowing access to foreign funding;
6. Demands that the independence of judiciary is guaranteed and protection of lawyers from disbarment is enhanced; strongly condemns the practice of disbarring lawyers in order to prevent them from representing political prisoners;
7. Urges the government of Azerbaijan to fully comply with all ECHR rulings, cooperate with and implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe"s Venice Commission and Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN special procedures in regard to human rights defenders, the rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and arbitrary detention, with the aim of amending its legislation and adapting its practices in full conformity with the conclusions of the experts;
8. Calls on Azerbaijan to fully respect freedom of the press and media, both in legislation and in practice and both online and offline, to guarantee freedom of expression in line with international standards and to end censorship of criticism of the government via media outlets; urges Azerbaijan to restore access to independent media websites and portals, including Azadliq Radio (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service) and its international service, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, Azadliq newspaper (independent of Azadliq Radio), Meydan TV, and Azerbaijan Saadi (Azerbaijan Hour), among others;
9. Expresses concern over the situation of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan and calls on the Azerbaijani government to stop obstructing and intimidating human rights defenders working for LGBTI people;
10. Expresses concern over allegations involving several members of the Council of Europe"s parliamentary assembly (PACE) and denounces attempts by Azerbaijan to influence European decision-makers through illicit means in order to hinder criticism of serious human rights violations in Azerbaijan;
11. Notes the new partnership agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan; stresses that democratic reforms, the rule of law, good governance, and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must be at the core of the new agreement; reminds that it will closely monitor the situation throughout the negotiations on a new agreement prior to deciding on whether to give its consent or not; emphasises that the current human rights situation in Azerbaijan does not warrant deepening of EU-Azerbaijan cooperation;
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12. Calls on the Council, the Commission and the VP/HR to make the release of Mehman Huseynov and other political prisoners in Azerbaijan central in the continued EU-Azerbaijan Human Rights Dialogue as well as in the negotiations on a new agreement, and urges the VP/HR and EEAS officials to publicly and privately express their concern about the human rights situation in Azerbaijan to the Azerbaijani authorities;
13. Urges the EU and Member States" delegations in Azerbaijan to continue to support civil society and respect for human rights;
14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the European External Action Service, the Commission, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE.--0--