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On 27 May, during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed great concern at the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Azerbaijan, undermining any efforts being made by the authorities to meet basic democratic standards in the forthcoming Presidential election.
In a draft resolution approved in Kyiv, the committee said restrictions on freedom of expression – including harassment and intimidation of opposition journalists – and limits on freedom of assembly and association were “inadmissible in a Council of Europe member state”, and declared that the issue of political prisoners had not been resolved. It demanded the immediate release of opposition journalists Ganimat Zahidov, Sakit Zahidov and Eynulla Fatullayev, as well as five others seen as political prisoners.
PACE co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel also told BBC recently that it is important to release the imprisoned journalists by the end of June.