• Azerbaijani authorities should free journalists
  • Death penalty should be abolished in Pakistan
  • Indonesia must protect LGBTI people and other minorities

MEPs call for the release of Afgan Mukhtarli in Azerbaijan, the abolition of the death penalty in Pakistan and the protection of minorities in Indonesia.

Azerbaijan: MEPs call for release of political prisoners

 

The European Parliament calls upon Azerbaijan authorities to immediately release and drop all charges against Afgan Mukhtarli, an investigative journalist exiled in Georgia, from where he was abducted on May 29 and brought to Azerbaijan. He now faces prosecution and possibly a prison sentence of several years “following bogus charges”, say MEPs.

 

Azerbaijani authorities should end the selective criminal prosecution and imprisonment of journalists and human rights defenders, immediately release all political prisoners, and ensure compliance with fair trial norms, MEPs stress in a resolution adopted on Thursday.

 

Parliament also urges the Georgian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into Mukhtarli’s disappearance and to clarify “beyond any doubt all suspicion regarding the involvement of Georgian state agents”.

 

Pakistan: Stop death penalty

 

Parliament is deeply concerned at the alarming rate of executions in Pakistan following flawed trials, including of minors and persons with mental disabilities, some of which are carried out while appeals are still under way. In a resolution, it calls on Pakistan to reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty, with the ultimate goal of full abolition.

 

MEPs also urge the Pakistani Government to prevent misuse of the ‘blasphemy law’, which is so vaguely defined as to render it open to abuse, including to target political dissidents. Vigilantism towards alleged ‘blasphemers’ is heightening the climate of religious intolerance, MEPs fear.

 

They deplore the general “roll-back in Pakistan of the respect for human rights and the rule of law”, in particular the freedom granted to security forces, the use of military courts, the crackdown on NGOs, the intimidation of human rights defenders and religious minorities, and the increase in extrajudicial killings.

 

Indonesia: LGBTI and other minorities under threat

 

MEPs are concerned about the growing intolerance and unprecedented number of violent incidents and verbal harassment against the LGBTI community in Indonesia. They condemn the arrests of 141 men in a police raid on a gay club in Jakarta on 21 May 2017, which occurred even though homosexuality is not a crime under Indonesian law.

 

Intolerance is also growing towards ethnic and religious minorities, a resolution states. It calls for a revision of the blasphemy law, as it puts religious minorities at risk, and urges Indonesian authorities to “protect vulnerable minorities and not to persecute them”.

 

The Indonesian Government should also repeal legal provisions restricting fundamental freedoms and human rights, ensure media freedom, enforce legislation against violence against women and female genital mutilation and reinstate the moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it entirely, MEPs say.

 

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