Nils Muzhnieks Disappointed

"I ​​am very disappointed by reports that the courts have extended the arrest of Leyla Yunus and Intigam Aliyev," said in an interview with Turan the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, Nils Muzhnieks, commenting on the results of his visit to Baku.

"I have discussed all these issues with the Attorney General Garalov and the Minister of Justice Mammadov, stressing the need to free Leyla Yunus, given the poor state of her health, but the opposite happened," said the European Commissioner.

Muzhnieks noted that during the negotiations with the Azeri officials he dealt with the legal aspects of unfounded detention of human rights defenders, keeping them under arrest and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

"In particular, I raised the question of implementation of the decision of the court on the case of Ilgar Mamedov," said the Commissioner.

Giving an overall assessment of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, Muzhnieks noted that it is very hard. "In fact, behind the bars are all of our partners," he said.

Asked what steps the Council of Europe will take in this situation, Muzhnieks noted that Secretary General Jagland, president Brasseur and other leaders of the Council of Europe are concerned about the situation and regularly maintain contacts with official Baku.

On the question whether the Council of Europe will take any special steps or sanctions against Azerbaijan, Muzhnieks said that such matters are within the competence of the Parliamentary Assembly, which has already taken sanctions against Russia for violating human rights.

"As for me, the task of the European Commissioner is to contribute to solving the problems of human rights. I think that the Azerbaijani authorities must comply with the provisions of the Action Plan for 2014 - 2016, which they took together with the Council of Europe."

The Azerbaijani authorities should realize that tightening the legislation, making the work of civil society impossible and not registering undesirable NGOs, they move away from addressing human rights. In conclusion Muzhnieks noted that human rights activities in Azerbaijan are virtually nonexistent today. In addition, the authorities do not just ignore the recommendations to improve the situation in this area, but also follow the path of further tightening. "All this is very frustrating and worrying," he said.

Note that during the two-day visit to Baku Muzhnieks met with the imprisoned human rights defenders Leyla Yunus, Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mammadli. In addition, the European Commissioner held meetings with the lawyers of the human rights defenders. -02B-

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