PACE Co-Rapporteurs Believe no Need to Appoint Rapporteur for Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 February / corr. Trend I. Alizadeh/ There is no need for the appointment of a reporter on the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The co-reporters Andreas Herkel and Evgenia Jikova said in the meeting of the working group on the political prisoners set up with the participation of the Government members and human right activists on 7 February in Baku.
Sahib Mammadov, the member of the working group and human right activist, said that the list of 35 political prisoners introduced by the Monitoring Group of the human right activists, the appointment of the reporter to Azerbaijan on political prisoners and the release of the journalists and prisoners with health problems were discussed during the meeting.
According to Mammadov, Herkel said that the settlement of the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan is of great importance. Co-rapporteurs consider that the appointment of the rapporteur could affect the dialogue launched between human right activists and the Government concerning political prisoners. Mammadov said that if the Government takes measures to the release the detained journalists, the issue of the appointment of the rapporteur on the political prisoners will be closed.
The co-rapporteurs confirmed that they had met with several prisoners, the names of which were included in the list developed by the Monitoring Group. Some of them had serious health problems, the co-rapporteurs said.
The Government members in the Working Group say that there are no problems with political prisoners in Azerbaijan. According to Government members, the people included in the list of political prisoners were made accountable for genuine crimes. Anyone who commits a crime has a right to pardon and the cases of those who appealed for pardon are being considered, the Government members said at the meeting. The Government members have opposed the appointment of the rapporteur.
According to Mammadov, the Government has developed its own list of prisoners whose release they consider to be possible. The list by the Government includes the same names as the list by the Monitoring Group.
The list of the Monitoring Group includes the names of the prisoners suffering from serious diseases and prisoners whose rights were violated whilst their cases were being considered and investigated, Mammadov said.
The next meeting of the working group will be held on 3 March.