No political prisoners in Azerbaijan, says top official (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 16:44)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 11
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
There are no political prisoners in Azerbaijan, said the Azerbaijani president's aide for public and political affairs, Ali Hasanov, speaking at the press conference on the First European Games with participation of the local and foreign media representatives June 11.
The press conference was held in accordance with the personal order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Ali Hasanov said there are people convicted for different actions in Azerbaijan, the court has made decisions regarding them and no executive power can doubt the court decisions.
Commenting on a question from Al Jazeera representative regarding the release of political prisoners, Hasanov said this issue is exaggerated by some western circles.
He added that by raising the issues related to the freedom of expression and freedom of press in Azerbaijan, it is attempted to instill an idea that allegedly, there are political prisoners in Azerbaijan, the freedom of press and freedom of expression is violated and there are no independent media outlets in the country.
"Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe for nearly 15 years already," Hasanov said. "It means that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are applied in Azerbaijan as well.
He added that Azerbaijan is within the legal framework of Europe.
"Anyone disliking the court's decision, can raise this issue in the Court of Human Rights," said the top official. "It means that Azerbaijani courts, even if they want to, can't punish a political or civil society representative outside the European principles."
The top official added that Azerbaijani courts are the independent branch of the government and operate in accordance with the principles of the legal state.
The presidential aide said that there is a full freedom of political activities in Azerbaijan.
There are 55 political parties in Azerbaijan and they have the full freedom of holding rallies, protest actions, participation in the elections, he added.
The opinion that "there are political prisoners in Azerbaijan, human rights are violated and there is no freedom of press in the country", used by some European circles for the broad campaign, has no grounds, Hasanov added.