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On 24 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted resolution “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” that was prepared by Monitoring Committee Co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel and Joseph Debono Grech.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on the Azerbaijani authorities “to ensure the necessary conditions for the full compliance of the forthcoming elections with the European standards”.
The Assembly noted that progress has been made, particularly during the last presidential election in 2008, in meeting European standards; however, none of these elections has fully complied with democratic requirements.
“As regards the situation of the media and journalists, the Assembly condemns the arrests, intimidation, harassment, and physical threats of journalists as borne out by the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Fatullayev vs. Azerbaijan. In this context, the Assembly also expresses concern about the fate of two youth activists, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, who were sentenced to two years six months and two years prison respectively,” read the report.
In the light of the above considerations, the Assembly called on the Azerbaijani authorities “to release Eynulla Fatullayev as ordered by the European Court of Human Rights, introduce amendments to the Criminal Code so as to decriminalize defamation, and refrain from bringing any new criminal prosecutions against journalists for defamation, and create the conditions for journalists to conduct their professional work without interference by the authorities.”