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2016, 22 Oktyabr, şənbə, Bakı vaxtı 07:41

MEPs Call For The Release Of All Political Prisoners In Azerbaijan

Europe, European Parliament logo

Europe, European Parliament logo

September 10, European Parliament adopted a resolution on Azerbaijan, highlighting the grave situation in the country. In their resolution on Azerbaijan, the MEPs called for, "immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus, in line with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and / or a prompt investigation into the death of the journalist Rasim Aliyev."

The resolution, which was adopted by 365 votes to 202, also called to end crackdown on civil society and human rights work and put on hold negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan until "the government takes concrete steps in advancing respect for universal human rights".

Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), following the resolution commented, "Over the past months the human rights violations have systematically increased with excessive sentences for journalist Khadija Ismayilova and human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and her husband and there are many more in prison. Civil society, political opposition figures, journalists and activists face violence, intimidation and repression. Silent diplomacy and dialogues have not rendered the needed improvements, must speak out now.”

Schaake expressed her disappointment with the European People's Party (EPP), which tried postponing the resolution. “I’m disappointed we did not send a strong message on behalf of the entire parliament. The Azeri authorities have had all the time in the world to make sure human rights were respected and to implement commitments they made as Members of the Council of Europe, and the OSCE. If the relationship between the EU and Azerbaijan is to develop further, democracy and human rights are an integral part of that. We do need to continue to engage in dialogue with the Azeri regime, but with a strong and clear message that respect for human rights is our first and most important criterion and that the EU will not compromise on this."

The MEPs also urged Russia to release the Estonian Eston Kohver, and Ukrainians Oleg Sentsov, Nadiya Savchenko and Olexandr Kolchenko condemning the "blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Estonia" and expressedEuro concerns at the human rights situation in Angola.