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MEPs deplore the crackdown on dissent in Azerbaijan and urge Sudanese authorities to end violence against those protesting President al-Bashir’s regime.

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions taking stock of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan and Sudan.


Azerbaijan must release anti-corruption activist Mehman Huseynov


MEPs call for the immediate and unconditional release of prominent Azerbaijani anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, who is serving a two-year prison sentence for speaking out about his experiences of being tortured by the police and criticising government officials by exposing their unexplained wealth.


They also demand an end to Azerbaijan’s harsh general crackdown on dissent and the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners. MEPs remind Azerbaijan of its obligations stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and call on the country’s authorities to fully respect and enforce the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.


The resolution, adopted by 533 votes in favour, 28 against and 36 abstentions, further underlines the importance of the new agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and Azerbaijan, stressing that democratic reform, the rule of law and respect for human rights must be at its core. MEPs emphasise that the European Parliament will closely monitor the situation in the country throughout the negotiations prior to deciding whether or not to give its consent to the agreement.


Sudan must end deadly violence against peaceful protesters


MEPs strongly condemn the excessive use of force by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) during the ongoing popular protests against price increases and President Omar al-Bashir’s regime. The Sudanese government recently decided to end subsidies on staple goods in response to spiralling inflation, which is now the second highest in the world at around 122 %.


The European Parliament also deplores the ongoing general repression by the authorities in Sudan, which continue to target activists and human rights defenders, as well as lawyers, teachers, students and doctors.


The resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of human rights lawyer and 2007 Sakharov Prize laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman, who was arrested on 8 January, as well as all other political prisoners currently in detention without charge or trial.


MEPs finally reiterate their demand that President al-Bashir comply with international law in accordance with the conventions and treaties to which his government is party. The Sudanese President, in power for 29 years, is the only sitting head of stated wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed during his campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Although the Sudanese constitution does not permit him to stand again when his term ends, Mr al-Bashir is currently seeking to amend relevant articles in order to obtain a life mandate.


The text was adopted by a show of hands.