The Council of Europe called on Baku to comply with the decisions of the ECHR regarding nine activists

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has strongly urged the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately restore the rights of human rights activists and government critics, as required by the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

An Interim Resolution of the Committee on the “Mammadli against Azerbaijan” reads that  in respect of each applicant in this group of cases, the European Court found a violation of Article 18, in conjunction with Article 5, of the European Convention on Human Rights, revealing “a troubling pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of government critics, civil society activists and human-rights defenders through retaliatory prosecutions and misuse of criminal law in defiance of the rule of law”.

The Committee further recalled the decisions adopted by the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan quashing the convictions of Ilgar Mammadov, Rasul Jafarov, Rashad Hasanov, Zaur Gurbanli, Uzeyir Mammadli and Rashadat Akhundov and awarding them compensation for non-pecuniary damage resulting from their unlawful arrest and imprisonment. In 2020-2022, the Committee of Ministers subsequently closed its supervision of those cases.

However, the Committee of Ministers expressed profound concern that – despite its repeated calls – the remaining nine applicants’ guilty verdicts still stand and there is no indication that any further progress has been made in their cases before the Supreme Court, some of which have now been pending for four years.

The Committee once again stressed the need for quashing the applicants’ convictions, erasing them from their criminal records and eliminating all other consequences of the criminal charges brought against them, including by fully restoring their civil and political rights.

The Committee strongly urged the Azerbaijani authorities to put an immediate end to the situation by ensuring that all necessary measures are taken in respect of the applicants as a matter of priority.

It should be noted that the “Anara Mammadli group” includes the cases of human rights activists: Anar Mammadli, Intigam Aliyev, Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus, journalist Khadija Ismayilova, former members of the “NIDA” Movement Vahid Azizov and Shahin Novruzlu and youth activists Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov (deceased).

All these persons were arrested and convicted in the period 2014-2016.

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