Following criticism voiced in particular by the Parliamentary
Assembly itself, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
looks at the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan. It remains
concerned about the reported prosecution and detention of NGO leaders,
human rights defenders and journalists on the basis of charges relating
to their work. It notes that the number of “prisoners of conscience”
varies considerably depending on the sources, and encourages the
authorities to review their cases. In view of the prevailing climate
and restrictive legislation for the work of the media and NGOs,
the authorities are urged to bring this legislation into line with
the standards of the Council of Europe and to create an environment
conducive for the activities of the media and NGOs.
The committee also condemns instances of torture carried out
by law-enforcement officers and the lack of effective investigations
in this regard. It is also concerned about the lack of independence
of the judiciary and the arbitrary application of criminal law,
and encourages the authorities to continue the reforms already embarked
upon in this area.
The Azerbaijani authorities should execute fully and quickly
the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, including the Ilgar Mammadov judgment by ensuring
the immediate release of the applicant.