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Parliamentary questions
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27 March 2018
Question for written answer E-001834-18
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE) , Julie Ward (S&D) , Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE)

 Subject:  VP/HR — Harassment and persecution of lawyers in Azerbaijan
 Answer in writing 

Last November, the President of Azerbaijan signed a law restricting representation in the courts in civil and administrative cases. The population of Azerbaijan is about 10 million people. Since January 2018, only members of the Bar Association, which in November 2017 had only 934 lawyers, have had the right to protect the rights of citizens.

Between 2012 and 2014, Namizad Safarov, Khalid Bagirov, Elchin Namazov, Alaif Gasanov and Yalchin Imanov were expelled from the Bar Association for having the courage to defend political prisoners. The professional activity of lawyer Fakhryaddin Mehtiyev was also suspended for one year.

Elchin Sadykhov, the defence lawyer for a dozen political prisoners, is now being threatened with expulsion. According to human rights defenders, there are currently 161 political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

1. Is the VP/HR aware of this alarming law enacted in Azerbaijan that restricts citizens’ access to basic legal assistance and the right of defence?

2. Does the VP/HR intend to inform the Azerbaijani authorities that such practices will negatively affect the country’s relations with the EU?

3. Is the VP/HR aware of the abovementioned situation in Azerbaijan and is the EEAS in touch with the prosecuted lawyers?

Last updated: 11 April 2018Legal notice