Elena Valenciano, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights in the European Parliament, on the pardoning of 148 people in #Azerbaijan:

"I welcome the release of several activists, human rights defenders and journalists by the presidential pardon on 17 March.


This is a positive long-awaited step that we hope will be followed by a much needed change in giving more space to civil society in Azerbaijan, in full respect of the rights to association, expression and freedom of assembly.


There are still many other cases in which charges should be dropped against those who are facing trial and remain behind bars for their peaceful and legitimate human rights related activity. Among others, Khadija Ismaylova, Intigam Aliyev or Ilgar Mammadov should also be released. All remaining charges should also be dropped against Leyla and Arif Yunus and they should be granted the possibility of much needed medical treatment abroad.


I also call on Azerbaijan to fully respect and implement all rulings of the European Court of Human Rights."