European Parliament calls for release of Mehman Huseynov and other political prisoners

MEPs at the European parliament. They have demanded a ‘comprehensive’ investigation in Azerbaijan after an amendment to a report on corruption.

MEPs at the European parliament. They have demanded a ‘comprehensive’ investigation in Azerbaijan after an amendment to a report on corruption.

With an overwhelming majority, members of the European Parliament have on 17 January adopted a resolution calling for the unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov.

The resolution, backed by six of the eight political groups in the European Parliament, was approved with 89 percent of the vote.

It urges the Azerbaijani government to end "the crackdown on dissent” and to immediately release Huseynov and ten other political prisoners, many of whom have joined Huseynov’s on-going hunger strike, and drop all charges against them.

The statement also calls for guaranteed freedom of the press, media and expression, and expresses concern about the independence of the judiciary in Azerbaijan and the restrictions civil society groups, activists and human rights defenders face.

Out of the 597 MEPs who voted on the resolution, 533 were in favor, 36 abstained, and 28 rejected it.

According to Votewatch Europe, half of the negative votes were cast by MEPs from France, who, with the exception of one independent member, belong to the right-wing Europe of Nations and Freedoms group.

The statement, like other resolutions adopted by the European Parliament, is non-binding and serves to set out the Parliament’s view and political desire for action taken by other EU institutions and actors.

Azerbaijani government news sites have slammed the resolution as a “failed result of using Mehman Huseynov in an anti-Azerbaijan scenario”, referencing billionaire philanthropist George Soros as well as neighboring Armenia as those responsible for “pouring water over the mill of the European Parliament”.

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