Council of Europe Secretary General Concerned about Freedom of Expression Deterioration in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, 19 March / corr. Trend K. Ramazanova/ The Secretary General of Council of Europe is concerned about the deterioration of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

"I am deeply concerned about the deterioration of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan," Terry Davis, the Secretary General said on 19 March.

According to Davis, in recent months several journalists, known for their critical views, have been sentenced to severe prison sentences

"Against the background of similar cases in the past, it is not surprising that many observers see a pattern intended to intimidate and silence dissenting voices in society. It is unacceptable," he said.

Davis also said that with its accession to the Council of Europe, the authorities in Azerbaijan have voluntarily accepted a clear and legally binding obligation to respect and protect human rights, including the freedom of expression, guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

"I expect them to refrain from any conduct incompatible with their obligations as a member of the Council of Europe," Davis said.

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