May 21, Commissioner Muiznieks in an interview with an Azerbaijani journalists said there were no double standards against Azerbaijan at the level of the Council of Europe while calling for the release of journalist Khadija Ismayil and Hilal Mammadov as well as rights activist Rasul Jafarov and others who are currently in pretrial detention and jail.
According to Turan News, while answering Azerbaijani journalist's question on whether the Council of Europe was using double standards against Azerbaijan while defending the rights of the separatist Hilal Mammadov and yet condemning the separatists in Ukraine, Commissioner Muiznieks said, "Hilal Mammadov is a journalist, and a minority rights activist, who was unjustly jailed. As are many other rights defenders, journalists, bloggers in Azerbaijan. This not not only an issue of freedom of expression but this is an issue of an independence of the judiciary. The judiciary [in Azerbaijan] is putting away the people selectively in a politicized manner. This has been going on for some time but really accelerated as of August. I don't think its a double standard. In no other Council of Europe country are all my partners in jail".
"Listen, there two options here. Either the Council of Europe are idiots, because we cooperate with only with drug dealers, suicidal people who attack police, revolutionaries and so on. Or there is something seriously wrong with the system of justice in Azerbaijan. I would submit that we are not idiots", said Muiznieks responding to the next question.
"They [the government of Azerbaijan] should release Khadija, they should release Rasul, they should release Hilal. They should release the human rights defenders, journalists and others, who are put in jail unjustly", concluded Commissioner.
Hilal Mammadov was an editor in chief of a minority paper Tolishi Sado (The Voice of the Talysh). He was arrested on June 21, 2012 and later sentenced to five years in prison.
Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe on January 25, 2001.