PACE discussions on situation in Azerbaijan are constructive: co-rapporteur

PACE discussions on situation in Azerbaijan are constructive: co-rapporteur

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 6 / Trend /

Discussions on the results of the referendum on amendments and additions to the Azerbaijani Constitution and the human rights situation in the country, which took place at a meeting of the Monitoring Committee of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Paris on June 5, have been positive, PACE Co-Rapporteur on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel said.

"I did a review on a visit to Azerbaijan in April this year, outlined the main points on which the Venice Commission relied on the referendum in the country. I can say that the particular emotion was not there," Herkel told Trend by telephone on June 6.

On June 5, at the meeting of the PACE Monitoring Committee, Co-Rapporteurs on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel and Yevgenia Zhivkova had to submit a report on the socio-political situation in the country and the outcome of the referendum held on 18 March to make changes and additions to the Constitution.

According to the Central Elections Commission, 87-91 percent of voters supported all amendments to 29 articles of the Azerbaijani Constitution.

The referendum proposes to replace the current edition of the 5th paragraph of Article 101 of the Azerbaijani Constitution, which states that "no person shall be elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than two consecutive terms", by an option extending incumbent President's office term in case when ongoing military operations during a war make it impossible to conduct a regular presidential election.

"Of course, I mentioned that the two journalists, literally at the time of our visit to Azerbaijan, were released, including Journalist of Azadliq newspaper Mirza Sakit," Herkel said.

In June 2006, Sakit was sentenced to three-year imprisonment. He was charged with illegal storage of drugs. The journalist considers his arrest as a political order, and connects it with the published radical articles.

Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP Mehriban Aliyeva's amnesty act, adopted in connection with the Novruz holiday, released Sakit from prison.

Herkel said there was not a special discussion at the meeting of the Committee. "It was a rather calm exchange of views, no explosion has happened," the co-rapporteur said.

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