Thursday, June 28, 2012
STATEMENT by Mr Kristian VIGENIN, Co-President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly on the pardon decree signed on 22 June 2012 by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
I welcome the pardon decree signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, releasing 66 prisoners. President Aliyev has taken into account the repeated calls by the European Parliament and other European and international organisations with regard to the human rights situation in the country. The release of nine out of the eleven prisoners detained at the demonstrations in April 2011 is an important step in improving the level of respect for human and citizens' rights. This will remove shadows in the EU-Azerbaijan relations and help develop further our cooperation.
I also call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to consider releasing the remaining two activists, imprisoned after the April 2011 demonstrations in Baku. There should be constant efforts to improve the system, so that political activity is encouraged and all rights of the citizens of Azerbaijan are duly guaranteed. Freedom of expression, information and assembly are important cornerstones of citizenship and the law should be used to guarantee them. President Aliyev has done a bold move to answer the concerns of the EU, which now has to find its continuation in an enhanced dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Brussels; 26 June 2012