EU welcomes New Year pardon in Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 5
The European Union has welcomed the New Year pardon in Azerbaijan announced by President Ilham Aliyev for several prisoners, including a number of journalists and opposition youth activists held in detention.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an order Dec. 29 pardoning 87 people.
The president's order said the decision on pardon was made after considering appeals made by a number of prisoners, their families, the human rights commissioner, the human rights organizations, which were addressed to Azerbaijan's president, taking into account the prisoners' personality, health condition and marital status, their behaviour while serving their sentences, and based on the principles of humanism.
Some 79 people, sentenced to imprisonment, were pardoned, three people were exempt from correctional work, and five people were exempt from the penalty of a fine.
Among those pardoned there are two members of the Nida movement - Uzeyir Mammadli and Zaur Gurbanli, journalists - Avaz Zeynalov and Sardar Aliyev, and a lawyer Gurban Mammadov.