ANDREAS HERKEL CONSIDERS IMPRISONMENT OF JOURNALISTS ABNORMAL

February 8th, 2008
Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe Monitoring Committee co-rapporteurs Andreas Herkel and Yevgeniya Jivkova held a press-conference on the results of their trip to Azerbaijan yesterday.

During the conference Herkel answered some questions.  
"Some serious measures have to be taken in the run-up for elections,” Herkel said, responding to a question about the upcoming elections in Azerbaijan. “The imprisoned journalists have to be released. I believe it is not normal to arrest journalists. Even the most critical writers should be free to fight the government with their pens."  
Talking about his meeting with the president, Herkel said that they had some opinion differences. He also emphasized that the resolution of this problem depends on the government and especially on the president.   
Herkel didn't rule out the designation of a special rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan. "It is hard to answer this question at the moment,” said Herkel. “But I hope that the efforts of the working group will be so successful that there won't be a need for a co-rapporteur. This depends primarily on the working group. But it is very hard to make an early prognosis like that right now."
Recall that "RIA Novosti Azerbaijan" Information Agency placed following a news biref on its website entitled "Pre-election situation in Azerbaijan is normal, there's no major problems – Andreas Herkel." In addition, an article entitled "PACE Co-rapporteurs don't see any need for a Special Rapporteur on Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan" was placed on "Trend" News Agency's web site.