Azerbaijan: monitoring co-rapporteurs say Jafarov sentence ‘could be perceived as disproportionate’, call for fair appeal

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Azerbaijan, Pedro Agramunt (Spain, EPP/CD) and Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland, SOC), have expressed their concern at the sentence passed on Rasul Jafarov.

“We met Rasul Jafarov during our monitoring visit to Azerbaijan in March when he was in pre-trial detention and he told us that the charges against him were politically motivated. Such a long sentence against a human rights defender for charges in connection to administering an NGO could be perceived as disproportionate.”

The co-rapporteurs said they were confident the authorities will take the necessary steps to ensure fairness, equality of arms and respect for the presumption of innocence, in compliance with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, will be respected during his appeal procedure.

An application is pending before European Court of Human Rights against his arrest and pre-trial detention, in which the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has intervened as a third party.