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Baku/28.01.21/Turan: PACE winter session in Strasbourg adopted  a  resolution based on the report of the Danish parliamentarian Michael Aastrup Jensen: "Report on the progress of the PACE monitoring procedures in 2020".

The document welcomes progress in the implementation of commitments to the Council of Europe in the countries under monitoring; and  expresses  concern regarding the problems in a number of states, including Azerbaijan, and a number of recommendations were put forward.

In the 11th paragraph of the resolution, the Assembly calls on all parties to the Karabakh conflict to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric that hinders political dialogue, to implement the provisions of the Trilateral Declaration (November 10) on humanitarian issues as soon as possible, to immediately exchange prisoners of war and bodies, and respect cultural heritage. The resolution also touches upon the issues of human rights in Azerbaijan.

PACE welcomes the acquittal in Azerbaijan in April 2020 against the head of the Republican Alternative party Ilgar Mammadov and human rights activist Rasul Jafarov, and regrets that this was not done within the timeframe set by the European Court.

The document also points to the persistence in Azerbaijan of large-scale repressions against opponents of the government, restriction of freedom of expression, including access to the Internet, lack of an independent judiciary, pluralism, and violations of the rule of law and human rights, freedom of assembly, association and religion. PACE calls on the monitored countries to fulfill their commitments to the Council of Europe.

Head of the Political Analysis and Planning Department of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, Milli Mejlis deputy Aydin Mirzazade, commenting on the PACE resolution, said that Azerbaijan is committed to the principles of a democratic rule of law.

According to him, the country has created conditions for the activities of political parties. Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe to follow more actively the path of democracy and human rights.

“I believe that we are fulfilling our obligations sufficiently. Today Azerbaijan is one of the pillars of the Council of Europe,” Mirzazade said.

He also noted that Azerbaijan is working closely with the Russian Federation and Armenia through the mediation of Moscow to return the bodies of the dead soldiers. Azerbaijan returned more prisoners to Armenia than it did to Azerbaijan. However, if we are talking about the detention of Armenian saboteurs after reaching the ceasefire on November 10, then they are not prisoners. “These are saboteurs sent to commit crimes in Azerbaijan. Of course, in any state in such cases, an appropriate legal mechanism is launched. On this issue, explanations have already been given many times,” Mirzazade said.

As for the protection of cultural monuments, during the period of occupation, Azerbaijan called on PACE and other international structures to carry out a fact-finding mission, but neither the Assembly nor the OSCE Minsk Group did this, the MP said.

Human rights activist Anar Mammadli believes that in general the resolution correctly reflects the situation in Azerbaijan. However, a number of questions were not included in the document. In particular, the shortcomings of last year's parliamentary elections.

“In addition, there are serious shortcomings in the implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to political prisoners. Thus, only in two cases did the Supreme Court execute the decisions of the ECHR on acquittal of political prisoners - Ilgar Mammadov himself and Rasul Jafarov. However, the cases of another seven people remain pending,” Mammadli said.

According to him, the repression in the country does not subside. “Since March last year, a large number of political and social activists have been imprisoned for various reasons. Therefore, the problem of political prisoners in the country has not yet been resolved,” Mammadli said.

The expert also believes that the country needs judicial reform. “To bring these processes in line with European standards, it is necessary to end politically motivated arrests, as well as to carry out judicial and legal reforms and ensure the rule of law. The Azerbaijani government must show political will to resolve them,” Mammadli said.

Elshan Hasanov, coordinator of the Union "For Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan", believes that the PACE resolution objectively reflects the problems with human rights in Azerbaijan. “The updated list of political prisoners of 146 people announced by our structure a few days ago is an eloquent indicator of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan,” Hasanov said.

The winter session of PACE started on January 25 and will end on the 29th. -0-

 

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