Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 11 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
Human rights situation in Azerbaijan is improving, but still it is not enough for a Council of Europe member country, newly appointed Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Joseph Debono Grech believes.
"Media freedom is the most important issue for us," he told Trend over the telephone. "Let us hope that Azerbaijan will go forward in this regard."
PACE Co-rapporteurs of the on Azerbaijan, including Estonian MP Andres Herkel and Malta's MP Grech are expected to visit Baku Feb.8-12.
This is Grech's first visit to Azerbaijan, which would give him the opportunity to become acquainted with the situation in the country to draw conclusions.
Hailing Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's recent decree to pardon a number of convicted persons, he said "based on the materials that I have studied, we can say that the current situation provides a basis for further progress [in human rights field]."
Dec. 25, 2009, Aliyev signed decree to pardon a number of prisoners. About 89 prisoners sentenced to imprisonment, including 3 sentenced to limitation of freedom and 6 sentenced to the penalty of a fine, were released.
Some of these individuals are in the list of so-called political prisoners of local NGOs on Human Rights. Journalist of the Bizim Yol opposition newspaper Mushfiq Huseynov was also released under the recent decree.
During the visit, co-rapporteurs are planning to meet with representatives of government and the opposition, and to discuss many vital issues, including media freedom in Azerbaijan.
Report on the visit will be published in April.
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