The notion of political prisoners was elaborated within the
Council of Europe in 2001 by the independent experts of the Secretary
General mandated to assess cases of alleged political prisoners
in Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the context of the accession of the
two States to the Organisation.
The general criteria put forward by the independent experts
were approved by all stakeholders at the time, including the Council
of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights reaffirms
its support for these criteria, summed up in the draft resolution
and explained in more detail in the explanatory memorandum, specifying
that those deprived of their personal liberty for terrorist crimes
shall not be considered political prisoners if they have been prosecuted
and sentenced for such crimes according to national legislation
and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The committee invites the competent authorities of all member
States of the Council of Europe to reassess the cases of any alleged
political prisoners by application of the above-mentioned criteria
and to release or retry any such prisoners as appropriate.