Council of Europe warns Azerbaijan of legal proceedings over jailed opposition figure

By bne IntelliNews October 27, 2017

The Council of Europe, the European human rights organisation, has notified the government of Azerbaijan of its intention to launch "unprecedented" legal proceedings against the country for ignoring resolutions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Turan news agency reported on October 25.

Baku is one of the 47 members of the Council of Europe and is by default a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, Azerbaijan is a serial human rights violator, having imprisoned over a hundred opposition politicians, journalists, civil society activists and other individuals that have inconvenienced the oligarchic regime in recent years. Political prisoners are frequently accused of made-up economic misdemeanours and are sentenced by tribunals, the independence of which is questionable.

The Council of Europe is on a mission to clean up its image after repeated investigations since 2012 have shown that Azerbaijan has bribed members of its parliamentary committee to buy favourable resolutions.

Its most recent warning is related to the case of Ilgar Mammadov, an opposition politician who was imprisoned in March 2014. In May 2015, the ECHR ruled that his imprisonment and arrest were in violation of several articles in the European Convention of Human Rights and urged Baku to release him. However, Azerbaijan has yet to do so.

For the first time since 2010, the Council of Europe will forward a case to the ECHR to decide whether the failure to implement one of its resolutions constitutes a further violation of the human rights convention.

The council offered Azerbaijan a month-long timeframe to submit its view in writing before November 29, before it forwards the case to the ECHR and further discusses it at a meeting of the council of ministers on December 5.

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