Government of Azerbaijan to Discuss Issue of Freeing Prisoners Named in PACE Resolution
Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 June /corr. TrendNews I.Alizade / The Government of Azerbaijan will consider the issue of releasing the prisoners named in the Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). "It is not a requirement, but this issue takes a character of recommendation. The Government of Azerbaijan will discuss implementation of these recommendations and the issue of pre-term release of these people," Aydin Mirzazade, member of Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, told Trend on 24 June.
The PACE passed a Resolution No 11627 'Situation with democratic institutions in Azerbaijan on the eve of elections' on Azerbaijan.
On 7 January 2001 Azerbaijan became a full-right member of the Council of Europe and undertook obligations. The PACE appointed co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan to control fulfillment of the obligations.
The report being devised by the co-rapporteurs includes issues of improvement of the Electoral Code, elimination of limitations with regards to freedom of assembly, immediate release of the jailed journalists. In the Resolution being passed, the PACE calls on the Azerbaijani Government to discuss the issue of freeing Natig Efendiyev, Rasim Alekperov, Ruslan Beshirli, Akif Huseynov and Telman Ismaylov on human basis.
Mirzazade said that there are not five, but thousands of prisoners in Azerbaijan and each of them has the right to be freed. "Disregarding rights of thousands of prisoners and paying attention to five prisoners is not a democratic case".
The member of the delegation said that the President of Azerbaijan often sign pardoning orders and frees hundreds of prisoners and this process will be continuing. "It is not excluded that the persons named in the PACE Resolution will also be described in the pardoning list," he said.
Mirzazade said that the opinion in the report with regards to deterioration in the freedom of expressions and press in Azerbaijan does not correspond to reality. "Andreas Herkel said that organizing discussions on Azerbaijan is linked with the deterioration of the situation in the country. But it is not so. Holding discussions in PACE is an ordinary procedure rule. The issue of fulfillment of the obligations by the countries who are under monitoring is discussed once a year irrespective of the situation in the country," he said.
Mirzazade stated that the situation in Azerbaijan has not worsened because the Constitution and laws in the country work, there is democracy in the country, the State bodies productively function, it is possible to openly speak about problems, express various opinions.
The member of the delegation said that there are certain problems in Azerbaijan. However, casting shadow of these problems on other issues and describing the situation in the country as hard does not give us an opportunity to highly assess the activities of the PACE co-rapporteurs.
"There are problems with press in Azerbaijan. However, these are internal problems of the press. Part of people who presents themselves as a journalist violate principles of the journalism or engage in non-journalistic activities. Three jailed journalists are demanded to be released. But let us look if they have been arrested due to journalistic activities. Why did not Andreas Herkel want to give information on it in the PACE," Mirzazade said.
According to him, the Government of Azerbaijan takes all measures to improve activities of press. Mirzazade considers that the freedom of assembly is not limited in Azerbaijan.
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