EU Parliament decries ‘unprecedented’ crackdown on human rights in Azerbaijan

The European Parliament has passed a resolution denouncing the persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. The September 9, 2015 resolution condemned the “unprecedented repression against civil society in Azerbaijan.”

EU lawmakers called for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists. The text mentioned 16 jailed activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla and Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev and Rauf Mirkadirov.

EU lawmakers also condemned the continuous intimidation and harassment of civil society leaders and journalists, including Meydan TV Director Emin Milli, who has received death threats and members of whose family have been arrested on trumped-up charges, as well as journalists working with Meydan TV in Azerbaijan.

The EU Parliament called for a prompt investigation into the death of journalist Rasim Aliyev and expressed concerns over allegations that Aliyev had not received appropriate assistance from the doctors.

The Azerbaijani authorities must “conduct a thorough investigation into the corruption allegations against President [Ilham] Aliyev and members of his family revealed by the work of the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.”

Furthermore, the parliament urged the EU authorities to “avoid double standards in relation to the EaP [Eastern Partnership] countries, and to consider, in this regard, targeted sanctions and visa bans on all politicians, officials and judges involved in the political persecutions.

The resolution stated that negotiations towards a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan should be suspended as long as “Azerbaijan fails to take concrete steps in advancing respect for universal human rights.”

 

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