HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES SAY JOURNALISTS MUST BE RELEASED OR PACE WILL APPOINT SPECIAL RAPPORTUER FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS

March 14th, 2008
Human Rights Advocate Saida Gojamanli told “Turan” News Agency that PACE will give the Azerbaijani government one more chance from 13 March to 23 March to release the imprisoned journalists and seriously ill prisoners.

If not, a special rapporteur will be appointed in the spring session. In that case, the new rapporteur on political prisoners would start to work in the summer. Gojamanli added that if the government doesn’t want to make matters worse during the election year and if it doesn’t want to see its name in negative reports of international organizations it must first release the imprisoned journalists and ill prisoners.


In today’s edition of “Gundelik Baki” it was reported that the Chairwoman of Women Rights Protection Center Novella Jafaroglu also spoke about the same topic. The newspaper cited Jafaroglu as saying she is concerned about the pressures against speech and media freedom. “If the government doesn’t want the appointment of a special rapporteur, 10 or 15 people from our list should be released. We insist on the release of three journalists. This must be done,” N. Jafaroglu said. 
The consideration of pardon appeals concluded yesterday, and the final list has been sent to the Presidential Administration.  Some human rights advocates anticipate that a decree on pardon will be signed by the president over the Novruz holiday.