Within his visit to Azerbaijan on June 14, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, met with representatives of civil society to discuss the situation with fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
Speaking to Meydan TV, human rights defender, Leyla Yunus, said that they provided President Barroso with information about the newly founded Center for Resistance Against Repressions and submitted an appeal on behalf of the organization.
In addition, the group discussed the stand of internet freedom in Azerbaijan. Mr. Barroso stated that the European Union holds the fundamental freedoms, respect for human rights, democracy, reforms and the increasing role of civil society as its main priorities.
The appeal presented by Leyla Yunus mentioned “130 current victims of repression, 40 of whom are prisoners of conscience and 90 are political prisoners.”
Compiled by the Institute for Peace and Democracy, the “prisoners of conscience” list included the following:
– 11 journalists and bloggers, including Avaz Zeynalli, editor-in-chief of “Khural” newspaper, Hilal Mammadov, editor-in-chief of “Talışi- Səda,” the sole newspaper published in a minority language, Rauf Mirkadirov, journalist and Herd Bitserius Prize winner, Tofiq Yagublu, journalist, whose daughter is also incarcerated, bloggers Rashad Ramazanly, Abdul Əbilov and others.
– Four human rights defenders, including Anar Mammadli and Bashir Suleymanli, leaders of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS), which revealed strong evidence of falsification during the Presidential elections held on October 9, 2013.
– 11 young activists, most of whom were educated in the U.S. and the E.U. countries, including eight members of NIDA Civic Movement. They were subjected to torture and inhumane treatment during their arrest and the investigation period.
– Two leaders of two opposition parties – Ilgar Mammadov from REAL party and Yadigar Sadigov from Musavat party.
– 12 religious leaders, including well-known theologian Taleh Bagirzade.
The Center for Resistance Against Repressions demanded immediate release of the victims of political repressions; criminal prosecution of the employees of the prosecutor’s office, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of National Security, who were involved in falsification of criminal cases and incidents of torture; open court proceedings of the “high-ranked criminals” and the dismissal of the judges, who were instrumental in falsification of political cases and prevention of their acquisition of the judge rank in the future.
According to the appeal, the Center for Resistance Against Repressions is said to possess a substantial database of the judges, who violated the norms of Azerbaijan’s and international laws.