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RC-B8-0414/2017

Разисквания :

PV 15/06/2017 - 4.1
CRE 15/06/2017 - 4.1

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PV 15/06/2017 - 7.2
CRE 15/06/2017 - 7.2

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P8_TA(2017)0267

Разисквания
Четвъртък, 15 юни 2017 г. - Страсбург Редактирана версия

4.1. Случаят с Афган Мухтарли и положението на медиите в Азербайджан
Видеозапис на изказванията
PV
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  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt folgt die Aussprache über sechs Entschließungsanträge zum Fall des aserbaidschanischen Journalisten Äfqan Muxtarlı (2017/2722(RSP)).

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, author. – Madam President, the alleged abduction of Azerbaijani citizen Afgan Mukhtarli on Georgian soil is an extremely concerning and serious case, particularly given his background as a journalist who has fled there in search of a safe haven from persecution by the Azerbaijani authorities. Allegations that the Georgian security services may have in some way been complicit with these events is also of deep concern, and I welcome the calls in the resolution today for a full investigation of these claims.

Investigative journalism that seeks to uncover corruption and abuses of justice is vital in all countries, but especially so in countries such as Azerbaijan, which are marked by distinct deficiencies in the democratic processes and the rule of law. Incidents such as this undermine the efforts to encourage journalists such as Mukhtarli to continue their work in freedom, and to believe that sanctuary can be found if necessary. I hope, as investigations into the affair proceed, that we will at the very least see the release of Mukhtarli, and that all charges filed by the Azerbaijani authorities against him in this regard are dropped.

 
  
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  Rebecca Harms, Verfasserin. – Frau Präsidentin, sehr geehrte Kollegen! Herr Tannock hat die Situation sehr gut beschrieben. Das Erschreckendste an diesem Fall des Journalisten Äfqan Muxtarlı ist aber, dass die Unrechtsjustiz offensichtlich nicht nur in Aserbaidschan funktioniert, sondern dass der Arm aus Aserbaidschan bis Georgien reicht. Und uns ist sehr wichtig, dass dieser Fall insgesamt aufgeklärt wird und dass unabhängige Untersuchungen dazu nicht nur in Aserbaidschan, sondern auch in Georgien stattfinden.

Ich hoffe sehr, dass wir mit unserer Entschließung Äfqan Muxtarlı helfen können. Ich setze darauf, dass Kommissar Hahn, der morgen in Baku sein wird, dazu verhandeln wird. Und ich hoffe, dass auch alle anderen Fälle von Unrechtsjustiz Thema sein werden für die Beziehungen zwischen den europäischen Institutionen und Aserbaidschan. Unsere Entschließung fordert nicht nur die sofortige Freilassung von Äfqan Muxtarlı, sondern von Dutzenden anderen Journalisten und Menschenrechtlern, die in Aserbaidschan zu Unrecht im Gefängnis sind und die auch gefoltert werden.

 
  
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  Soraya Post, author. – Madam President, on 29 May 2017 the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli disappeared from his exile in Tbilisi, Georgia. He was abducted and, according to his own account, beaten up and thrown into a car. The next day he was in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mukhtarli has since then been sentenced to prison.

We are happy that the European Union has a broad cooperation with Azerbaijan, and we would like to deepen that. But let us be very clear that to breach the sovereignty of other countries to abduct, beat up and imprison journalists and critics of the government is completely unacceptable. We utterly condemn what has happened to Mr Mukhtarli and call on the Georgian Government to ensure a prompt investigation. We call on the Azerbaijani Government to immediately drop all the bogus charges against Afgan Mukhtarli and release him from prison and, with him, let all the political prisoners go.

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius, author. – Madam President, we all – and people of Azerbaijan in particular – need a democracy and value-based partnership, but not an illusion of it. Only full respect of basic freedoms and the rule of law will enable us to build solid and lasting political and trade relations. Otherwise, this partnership will be simply doomed, as it proved to be in the cases of Russia and Turkey, among others.

Therefore, the abducted journalist Afgan Mukhtarlimust be immediately released and officially pardoned by Baku. Prompt and transparent investigation must be conducted in both Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Finally, the release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners must be at the core of the partnership agreement. This is where the EU must stand firm. Today, we have to repeat it once again: Baku and Tbilisi must be partners in the investigation, and we have to receive all and final information on this case, otherwise there are many doubts about future partnerships.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz, Verfasser. – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich möchte einer Verschiebung der Abstimmung über die Entschließung zum Fall Äfqan Muxtarlı, wie es diskutiert wird, ausdrücklich zustimmen. Wie so oft üben wir den Spagat zwischen den Erwartungen eines in seinen Rechten Verletzten und der Suche nach einem geeigneten Weg, universellen Rechten zum Durchbruch zu verhelfen. Der Dialog – egal auf welcher Ebene er geführt wird – ist hierbei tausendmal besser als eine im Kern sprachlose Konfrontation.

Vor wenigen Tagen konnte ich im südlichen Kaukasus selbst beobachten, wie komplex die gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozesse in der Region verlaufen, wie groß der Bedarf an gemeinsamen gesellschaftlichen Lernprozessen und Verabredungsprozessen ist. Die menschenrechtlichen Forderungen unserer Entschließung ordnen sich hier klar ein. Äfqan Muxtarlı ist umgehend freizulassen, und die Anklage gegen ihn ist aufzuheben, denn am Ende kann nirgendwo Recht gesprochen werden, welches auf einem fundamentalen Unrecht basiert. Die so offensichtliche Entführung eines vor Verfolgung Geflohenen und seine Überstellung an das Land, aus dem er floh, ist Unrecht. Es gilt auch unsere Forderung: Das Land, welches vorgab, ein sicherer Fluchtort zu sein, muss widerspruchsfrei nachweisen, dass es mit der Entführung nichts zu tun hat.

Aserbaidschan hat sich in Bezug auf die Menschenrechte widersprüchlich entwickelt. Wir lernen erneut daraus, dass unsere Forderungen nur dann nachhaltig umgesetzt werden können, wenn sich an den Systemen der Machtausübung etwas verändert. Die Kriminalisierung von Kritik und Kritikern wird immer weiter gehen, wird sie am Ende nicht selbst unter Strafe und Strafverfolgung gestellt. Waffengleichheit in Konflikten zwischen Staat und Individuum kann es ebenso nicht geben, wird dieses nicht per Gesetz garantiert.

Wir sind bereits in der Phase der intensiven Vorbereitung des nächsten Gipfels zur östlichen Nachbarschaft. Ich möchte der Kommission im Kontext dieser Diskussion mit auf den Weg geben, auch darüber nachzudenken, wie die EU ihre entsprechenden Instrumente weiterentwickelt. Das Europäische Parlament ist daran interessiert, weniger Donnerstag-Entschließungen zu produzieren und viel mehr zu realen Veränderungen in unseren Partnerländern zu kommen.

 
  
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  Željana Zovko, author. – Madam President, the joint motion for a resolution relates to the case of the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli,who was subjected to forced disappearance in Georgia, resurfaced in Baku a few hours later, and ended up in prison. We spoke to his wife this morning. The text produced by several groups is a solid one and critical of Azerbaijan as well as Georgia. As regards Azerbaijan we criticise the human rights situation and the ongoing crackdown on NGOs, human rights activists and journalists. We demand the immediate release of Mr Mukhtarli as well.

However, we have been requested by Commissioner Hahn to postpone the vote on the resolution. He will be in Baku on Friday. The adoption of the resolution, as he said, will make his mission virtually impossible. As saving face is usually very important for the Azerbaijani side, the Commissioner might encounter additional difficulties in Baku. Indeed, postponing the vote could serve as additional leverage for the Commission.

I strongly support postponing the vote and silent diplomacy instead of having this resolution adopted today.

 
  
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  Cristian Dan Preda, au nom du groupe PPE. – Madame la Présidente, je condamne, comme mes collègues, l’enlèvement et la détention du journaliste Afgan Mukhtarli, c’est une atteinte à la liberté de la presse qui est, comme on le sait, une valeur non négociable pour nous.

Je sollicite donc la libération immédiate d’Afgan Mukhtarli ainsi que des investigations approfondies et honnêtes sur son enlèvement, à la fois en Azerbaïdjan et en Géorgie.

En février, quand le président Ilham Aliev est venu à Bruxelles, nous avons montré notre ouverture à renforcer la coopération avec l’Azerbaïdjan dans divers domaines, qui vont de l’énergie au commerce, mais aussi à discuter plus souvent du fondement sur lesquels cette coopération doit être bâtie: le respect des libertés fondamentales.

J’invite donc nos partenaires azerbaïdjanais à discuter avec nous de manière ouverte, notamment dans le cadre de notre coopération parlementaire, sur les meilleures façons de mettre en œuvre ces valeurs, les seules sur lesquelles la prospérité et la stabilité peuvent se fonder.

Je suis certain que la présence du commissaire Hahn à Bakou, la semaine prochaine, enverra ce même message: notre volonté de coopérer, mais aussi l’importance que nous accordons aux valeurs de liberté.

 
  
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  Kati Piri, namens de S&D-Fractie. – Op klaarlichte dag ontvoerd worden in Tiblisi, de Georgische hoofdstad, je plots aan Azerbeidzjaanse grens bevinden en de volgende dag wakker worden in een gevangeniscel. Het overkwam onderzoeksjournalist Afgan Mukhtarli, die 2 weken geleden onder valse voorwendselen werd opgepakt en nu uitzicht heeft op een langdurig politiek gemotiveerd proces in Azerbeidzjan. De situatie past in een reeks zorgwekkende ontwikkelingen, waarbij de regering in Bakoe critici het zwijgen oplegt, van verzonnen strafbare feiten tot onderdrukkende wetgeving en bureaucratische regels voor maatschappelijke organisaties. Het resultaat? Vandaag de dag zitten ruim 100 politieke gevangenen vast zonder uitzicht op ook maar iets wat op een eerlijk proces lijkt. Maar de repressie kent nu een nieuwe fase. Nu zijn ook politieke vluchtelingen in buurlanden kennelijk niet meer veilig. Volgens Mukhtarli spraken zijn ontvoerders Georgisch. Dat roept ernstige vragen op over de mogelijke betrokkenheid van de Georgische veiligheidsdiensten. Daarom moet dit ook tot op de bodem worden uitgezocht. Het maakt namelijk dat honderden Azerbeidzjanen die in ballingschap in Georgië leven, zich plotsklaps zorgen moeten maken over hun veiligheid.

Let me say the last words in English so that we can have the debate here in the Parliament. There is this proposal to postpone, for the first time, a vote on a matter of urgency. I think the word ‘urgency’ says it all: we are talking here about an individual human rights case, and this Parliament should not postpone a vote on such a severe situation, because it will set a precedent which we should not want. I hope today we can go to a vote on a very good resolution which has been negotiated.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer (Verts/ALE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Frau Kollegin Piri! Würden Sie den Vorschlag auch machen, wenn Herr Kommissar Hahn ein Sozialdemokrat wäre?

 
  
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  Kati Piri (S&D), blue-card answer. – I’m sorry, but I think this is a very crazy question: we don’t make judgments about who does the request. We make judgments on the case itself. All the groups were in favour of having this resolution because of its seriousness. All the groups negotiated a request. This is not a political colour question, and I find your question, to be honest, actually very disgraceful.

 
  
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  Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, as a friend of both Georgia and Azerbaijan, I am most concerned by the case of Afgan Mukhtarli. His abduction, allegedly by Georgian services, is a serious blow to the reputation of that country. The triggering mechanism and unfortunate violent finish was somewhere in Azerbaijan. The investigation, as energetic as possible, should be carried out in both countries, and we have to support the silent diplomacy of Commissioner Hahn, postponing the vote on the resolution.

 
  
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  Pavel Telička, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, we all agree on the substance of the evaluation, so where we differ on is what the best approach is in order to release Mr Mukhtarli. Now the question is […]

Colleagues, I listened to you; Mr Bütikofer, it is not easy if you are shouting a few metres away from me. I do apologise, Madam President.

Once again, we differ on how to proceed, and what the best tactics are. If we were dealing with a different government with a different regime, I could understand the appeal of Mr Hahn, but the abduction happened a few days after a European Parliament high—ranking delegation spoke for an hour and a half with the President of the country, Mr Aliyev – so that is the message.

The other message would be that if we postpone it today and Mr Hahn goes, what is the message that we are sending? For the first time, we have postponed an urgency resolution, and we are not united. I disagree with Mr Hahn, because I think that he can go to Baku and have behind him a resolution which puts pressure on him. For me, in that current situation with this regime, with the disrespect to Parliament that Mr Aliyev has shown, it is the only possible way.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, however we are going to decide on this, it is clear that this is an unforeseen, unprecedented case. Two friendly countries, two EU eastern neighbours, and what happened was that there was a reported abduction from the territory of an independent country. I fully see why the President Margvelashvili of Georgia has said that this is not only a question of upholding human rights and freedom of the media, but it is also about defending Georgian statehood. That is why we all have reason to believe that Georgia is conducting a totally transparent and independent investigation into what happened. We are faced with two completely different stories on what happened and we need to get this right, because this should never happen again.

The main thing is that, whatever we decide today about voting today or in three weeks’ time, the Commission has to do their utmost to get Mr Afgan Mukhtarli free.

 
  
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  Krzysztof Hetman (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Nie kłóćmy się dzisiaj na tej sali o to, w jakim terminie powinniśmy głosować nad tą rezolucją. Mówmy o wolności słowa, która jest niewątpliwie jedną z najważniejszych wartości, wyjątkowo bliską każdemu Europejczykowi. Dlatego zdecydowanie powinniśmy sprzeciwiać się wszelkim formom jej naruszania. Szczególnie nie wyrażamy zgody na tak brutalne formy jej tłamszenia, jak ma to miejsce w przypadku Afgana Mukhtarliego, który, będąc niezależnym dziennikarzem otwarcie krytykującym działania rządu azerbejdżańskiego, został porwany w Gruzji, siłą przewieziony do Azerbejdżanu i aresztowany pod wątpliwymi zarzutami. Należy także podkreślić, że przypadek A. Mukhtarliego nie jest odosobniony. Dlatego podkreślam z całą mocą, że nie może być zgody Unii Europejskiej na więźniów politycznych, i wzywamy rząd Azerbejdżanu do ich uwolnienia. Sądzę, że postulat ten musi być także jednym z punktów negocjowanej od lutego tego roku umowy o partnerstwie między Unią a Azerbejdżanem.

 
  
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  Kosma Złotowski (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Aresztowanie Afgana Mukhtarliegoto zdarzenie budzące niepokój u wszystkich osób, którym na sercu leży pokój i stabilizacja w regionie południowego Kaukazu. Jeśli potwierdzą się ostatecznie wątpliwości co do miejsca i przebiegu jego aresztowania oraz postawionych mu zarzutów, nie będzie to z pewnością korzystne dla wzmacniania obustronnej współpracy między Unią Europejską, Azerbejdżanem oraz Gruzją, której służby również, zdaje się, odegrały w tej sprawie niechlubną rolę. Cieszę się jednak, że wspólny tekst rezolucji mówi także o tym, co udało się osiągnąć w ostatnim czasie, szczególnie w zakresie współpracy w ramach Zgromadzenia Parlamentarnego Euronest. Budowa demokratycznego państwa w tak trudnych warunkach geopolitycznych to ogromne wyzwanie, z którym zmaga się wiele krajów w obszarze postradzieckim. Bez wątpienia musimy robić więcej, aby ten proces wspierać, także w wymiarze gospodarczym.

Wracając do sprawy Afgana Mukhtarliego: jeśli istnieje choćby cień szansy na powodzenie misji komisarza Hahna, powinniśmy to głosowanie odłożyć.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE). – Doamnă președintă, vorbesc în calitatea mea de raportor al Parlamentului pentru Azerbaidjan. Am urmărit cu foarte mare atenție luările dumneavoastră de poziție și un lucru mi-a atras atenția: mulți dintre dumneavoastră vorbiți în termenii „dacă ar fi adevărate acestea alegații, ar putea să fie complice”. Cred că un parlament are obligația să se pronunțe printr-o rezoluție de urgență pe chestiuni foarte clare.

În momentul de față se fac două anchete: una la Baku și una la Tbilisi. Dacă Azerbaidjanul știm foarte bine cu toții că nu este o țară care să aibă performanțe în protejarea drepturilor omului, cred că nimeni din această sală nu are îndoieli cu privire la Georgia. Cred că demersul comisarului Hahn este unul legitim, corect și coerent din punctul de vedere al politicii Parteneriatului estic. Întâi avem obligația să clarificăm o situație și apoi să reacționăm cu toate mijloacele pe care Parlamentul și Uniunea le au. Pornind de la astfel de alegații, riscăm să tensionăm foarte mult relațiile în zonă. Pentru mine este foarte important să avem o abordare solidă și serioasă și să amânăm acest vot, după ce vom avea o percepție foarte clară a Comisiei.

 
  
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  Ivo Vajgl (ALDE). – Madam President, dear colleagues, two weeks ago an official delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), with seven Members, visited Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. We met the highest State representatives from civil society and diplomacy. After a long period of interrupted dialogue with Baku, caused by over-sensitive reactions to a similar urgency resolution some years ago, we received assurances of a strong interest in closer cooperation based upon common strategic interests and values. The delegation paid a visit to two places which symbolised the complexity of history and the present day: a camp for refugees from occupied Nagorno Karabakh near Baku, and an Armenian memorial for genocide in Yerevan. The EU is offering to all countries of the Caucasus a partnership based upon human rights, the rule of law and freedom of expression. This means that one single journalist or human rights defender in jail is one too many. Negotiations with Azerbaijan on the comprehensive Partnership Agreement has been started. Open issues from these resolutions should be dealt with in this framework. I believe in active politics and diplomacy, therefore I cannot support this resolution, which still has too many question marks.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye-Verfahren

 
  
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  José Inácio Faria (PPE). – Senhora Presidente, no passado dia 29 de maio, o jornalista Afgan Mukhtarli foi raptado por homens não identificados que, alegadamente, envergavam uniformes da Polícia Judiciária da Geórgia, para mais tarde vir a ser solto às mãos das autoridades do Azerbaijão. Afgan Mukhtarli foi espancado e conduzido à fronteira do Azerbaijão com uma avultada soma em dinheiro, com o único propósito de permitir às autoridades azerbaijanas instaurarem-lhe um processo-crime por atravessamento ilegal da fronteira e por contrabando.

As provas foram manipuladas por forma a permitir a sua detenção e condenação a uma pena de prisão de vários anos. A verdade, caros Colegas, é que esta prática de intimidação, repressão e perseguição, é aplicada recorrentemente no Azerbaijão a dirigentes de organizações não-governamentais, a defensores de direitos humanos, a membros da oposição e a jornalistas.

Num momento em que decorrem as negociações para a implementação da nova parceria entre a União Europeia e o Azerbaijão, o Parlamento Europeu deve condenar, de forma inequívoca, a prisão arbitrária do jornalista Afgan Mukhtarli e exigir a sua imediata libertação.

Entendo que a União Europeia não pode pactuar com regimes que descarada e reiteradamente desrespeitam os direitos humanos e as liberdades fundamentais e tudo deve fazer para que as violações da lei internacional sejam devidamente sancionadas.

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D). – Doamnă președintă, doamnă comisar, sigur, aici s-a dezbătut o situație, așa cum spunea și colega noastră Norica Nicolai, în care nu avem totuși toate datele relevante. Cred că trebuie să fim un Parlament responsabil. Și eu fac parte din Adunarea Parlamentară Euronest. Cunoaștem problemele din Azerbaidjan și din celelalte țări. Știm că Azerbaidjanul este important în Euronest și are o agendă legată de Uniunea Europeană, dar și eu cred că trebuie să amânăm această rezoluție, pentru a ne documenta și pentru a veni cu lucruri extrem de precise. Este vorba, sigur, de viața unui om. Este vorba de libertatea presei. În același timp, trebuie să avem toate argumentele, înainte de a lua decizii, și ăsta este punctul meu de vedere.

(Vorbitorul a acceptat să răspundă unei întrebări adresate în conformitate cu procedura „cartonașului albastru” (articolul 149 alineatul (8) din Regulamentul de procedură))

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE), blue-card question. – I would like to ask my good colleague, Maria Grapini, whether she would look into the resolution again, because it’s precisely asking for an investigation. So it’s not that we want to postpone the investigation; we want to have a serious, independent, transparent investigation on what actually happened, and this is the point in the resolution. Both sides of the border.

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D), răspuns la o întrebare adresată în conformitate cu procedura „cartonașului albastru”. – Am înțeles întrebarea colegei și o apreciez foarte mult. De altfel, am toată aprecierea față de colega noastră. Îi știu activitatea în Parlament și în comisie. Da, sigur, am citit rezoluția. Spuneam doar că nu că nu este nevoie de o rezoluție, ci că, din punctul meu de vedere, este pripit să facem atât de rapid o rezoluție, fără a aștepta, așa cum spunea și comisarul, o documentare mai aprofundată. Nu că nu e nevoie. Susțin că este nevoie să avem o rezoluție pentru Azerbaidjan, dar nu acum.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Afgan Mukhtarli il 29 maggio passeggiava tranquillamente per le vie di Tiblisi, dopo una serata con i suoi colleghi, fino a quando alcuni uomini con una divisa della polizia criminale georgiana lo fermano, lo incappucciano, lo spingono in macchina, lo picchiano e lo depositano oltre il confine con l'Azerbaigian, con 10 000 euro in tasca.

Adesso Afgan è a Baku, in custodia della polizia frontaliera, e davanti a lui pendono le accuse di contrabbando, attraversamento illegale della frontiera e violenza contro le autorità di polizia. Afgan è un coraggioso giornalista d'inchiesta come sua moglie. Era già scappato in Georgia nel 2015, temendo per la propria incolumità, pur continuando a investigare sulle holding della famiglia del Presidente azero Aliyev, e si sa che chi vuole curiosare troppo negli affari del Presidente azero non ha mai vita facile nel suo paese.

La domanda è: come si può sparire a Tiblisi e a ritrovarsi a Baku? Chiediamo un'inchiesta veloce e trasparente, ma non possiamo accettare che l'Azerbaigian da un altro lato faccia sempre un passo avanti e due indietro. Devono essere liberati i prigionieri politici, si deve smettere di perseguitare i giornalisti...

(Il Presidente toglie la parola all'oratore)

 
  
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  Michaela Šojdrová (PPE). – Já si velmi vážím toho, že EP se systematicky zabývá dodržováním lidských práv zemí Východního partnerství. Toto naše usnesení reaguje na konkrétní informaci o únosu Afgana Muchtarliho z Tbilisi do Baku, kde je vězněn. Skutečnou příčinou jeho věznění je to, že působil v nezávislém médiu – rádio Free Europe – a je znám jako kritik ázerbájdžánského režimu. Bohužel takových politických vězňů je v Ázerbájdžánu více a naše usnesení je zmiňuje, všechny je vyjmenovává.

EP vyzývá k jejich propuštění, včetně novinářů. Tento poslední případ zatčeného novináře silně připomíná diktátorské praktiky, které dobře známe z komunistických režimů. Proto podporuji stanovisko EP, aby propuštění politických vězňů, novinářů a konec jejich pronásledování byly jasnou podmínkou další dohody mezi EU a Ázerbájdžánem. Oceňuji zejména politickou shodu na tomto usnesení.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Madam President, the disregard for the fundamental right of freedom of expression demonstrated by the Azerbaijani Government, as evidenced in the case of Afgan Mukhtarli, is an issue of great concern to both my colleagues and me in the European Parliament, as is evidenced by this resolution and the speeches made by colleagues here this morning. Afgan Mukhtarli’s abduction and imprisonment is a clear violation of international law, and it is crucial that the Azerbaijani Government be held accountable. The alleged involvement of Georgian officials in this case must also be scrutinised in terms of respect for fundamental rights and the integrity of government, especially as he fled there and finished up in Baku. That was some safe haven in Tbilisi. Looking forward, the safeguarding of freedom of the press and freedom of expression should be prioritised as a central facet to the future of EU—Azerbaijani relations.

Dá bhrí sin, a Uachtaráin, caithfimid gach iarracht a dhéanamh chun an sprioc sin a bhaint amach agus brú níos mó a chur ar rialtas na hAsarbaiseáine chun Mukhtarli a ligean saor láithreach bonn agus más féidir sin a dhéanamh, beidh jab maith déanta againn.

 
  
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  Ana Gomes (S&D). – Apesar da libertação de ativistas dos direitos humanos no Azerbaijão nos últimos dois anos, repressão aos media independentes, ataques à liberdade de expressão têm-se tornado cada vez mais brutais, incluindo prisão, acusações criminais fabricadas, vigilância intimidatória, tortura e até a morte sob custódia do Estado, como aconteceu com o blogger Mehman Huseynov em abril passado. Intolerável é também a recusa do Governo do Azerbaijão em acatar julgamentos do Tribunal Europeu dos Direitos Humanos.

Condenamos firmemente o sequestro de Afgan Mukhtarli na Geórgia, a sua transferência forçada para uma prisão do Azerbaijão. Quem esteve envolvido neste sequestro tem de ser investigado e levado a tribunal na Geórgia, país que deve acolher todos os requerentes de asilo que escapam a perseguição política nos países vizinhos, como o Azerbaijão, a Turquia ou a Rússia. Afgan Mukhtarli e todos os outros prisioneiros políticos devem ser libertados de imediato no Azerbaijão e as acusações pendentes devem ser retiradas.

Espero que as diligências do Comissário Johannes Hahn em Bacu sejam atendidas pelo governo do Azerbaijão já, e não daqui a meses. Aqui, neste Parlamento, há muitos de nós que não trocamos direitos humanos por petróleo nem por subornos da cleptocracia que oprime o povo do Azerbaijão.

 
  
 

(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)

 
  
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  Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, the EU observes attentively the narrowing of space for exercising fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan. We have taken careful note of the arrest and sentencing of the number of persons who have criticised the authorities, as well as systemic measures to curb freedom of expression, such as a decision to permanently block five online media outlets or increase criminal penalties for insulting the President.

The number of government critics behind bars has increased rapidly since last summer. The charges are not always related to the exercise of freedom of expression, but range, of course, from drug-related charges to liberal and financial irregularities. What these cases have in common is the ease with which the arguments of the defence have been dismissed. On 30 May, the EU reacted immediately to the apparent abduction of a journalist in another country in order to imprison him in Azerbaijan, recalling that civil rights and due process of law must be respected.

These developments ran counter to the broader renewal of recent positive engagement between the EU and Azerbaijan following a number of positive developments since 2015, including the release of several high-profile human rights defenders, activists and journalists. Positive interparliamentary cooperation has also resumed and the visit by the Committee on Foreign Affairs to Azerbaijan in May was welcomed as a part of this renewed engagement. We will step up our diplomatic effort to return to this path. In a statement on 4 June, the spokesperson for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission called for an immediate review of the case and the release of all individuals detained as a result of exercising their fundamental freedoms.

The issue will also be raised by Commissioner Hahn, as you noticed, who will be visiting Baku as of tomorrow, including with President Aliyev. The EEAS has also raised this point in a meeting with their counterparts. Our main tool for steering our relationship with Azerbaijan is, of course, the new agreement that is currently being negotiated. The latest round took place earlier this week and human rights were again one of the main issues discussed. We will pursue relentlessly an agreement that puts respect for human rights at the core of our relationships.

 
  
  

PRZEWODNICTWO: RYSZARD CZARNECKI
Wiceprzewodniczący

 
  
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  Przewodniczący. – Zamykam debatę.

Głosowanie odbędzie się w czwartek 15 czerwca 2017 r.

 
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