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Päätöslauselmaesitys - B7-0709/2011Päätöslauselmaesitys
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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Azerbaijan, notably the case of Rafig Tagi


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Marietje Schaake, Leonidas Donskis, Robert Rochefort, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Marielle De Sarnez, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Sonia Alfano, Frédérique Ries, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0701/2011

Menettely : 2011/2945(RSP)
Elinkaari istunnossa
Asiakirjan elinkaari :  
Käsiteltäväksi jätetyt tekstit :
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European Parliament resolution on Azerbaijan, notably the case of Rafig Tagi

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Azerbaijan, notably those concerning human rights in particular that of 12 May 2011,


- having regard to the conclusions of the 2nd Eastern Partnership Summit 29-30 September 2011,

- having regard to the Statement by the spokesperson of the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton of 12 October 2011,

- having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EC and Azerbaijan which entered into force in 1999,

- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Rafig Tagi, a prominent Azerbaijani writer and journalist, died in Baku on 23 November 2011 from the injuries he sustained during a brutal knife attack four days earlier;

B.  whereas the Azerbaijani government opened a criminal investigation into the attack;

C.  whereas Rafiq Tagi had reportedly been receiving death threats in the weeks prior to the attack, believed to be in retaliation for an article amongst others published on Radio Azadlyq's (Liberty) website on 10 November 2011, in which he criticised the current Iranian government;

D.  whereas Rafig Tagi served a prison sentence following his conviction in May 2007 on charges of inciting religious hatred, based on an article he had written in the newspaper Sanat, in which he argued that Islamic values were preventing Azerbaijan's integration into European structures and stunting its democratic progress;


E.  whereas a leading Iranian cleric, Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani issued the fatwa calling for Rafiq Tagi to be killed after Rafiq Tagi published the said article; whereas the fatwa also called for Samir Sadagatoglu, the editor of the Sanat newspaper, to be killed;


F.  whereas the Iranian authorities never condemned this fatwa, which appear to be an incitement to murder, nor have they clarified that anyone suspected of inciting, planning, carrying out or aiding attacks on Rafiq Tagi or Samir Sadaqatoglu should be brought to justice;


G.  whereas the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party, recently expressed concern about the Article 226 of the Iranian Penal Code, which says that "committing murder will result in retaliation provided the murdered person did not deserve to die in accordance with Islamic Jurisprudence"; whereas fatwas are used to justify that an individual "deserves to die";


H.  whereas the Azerbaijani authorities never publicly condemned the fatwa and the public death threats Rafig Tagi received during his trial on the "defamation of religion" in 2007; whereas the authorities have yet to publicly condemn his murder;


I.  whereas the Azerbaijani authorities have a poor record of investigating attacks against journalists, contributing significantly to the climate of fear and impunity which is spreading throughout the media landscape in the country;

J.  whereas Azerbaijan is actively participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, is a founding member of Euronest and is committed to respecting democracy, human rights and the rule of law that are core values of these initiatives;

K.  whereas Azerbaijan will take up a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period of 2012 - 2013, and has committed to uphold the values as expressed in UN human rights charter;

L.  whereas Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as a number of other international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

M. whereas there are still political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan; whereas harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of individuals and organisations legitimately exercising the right to freedom of expression are practices reported in the country that should be immediately stopped, 

N.  whereas Azerbaijan and the European Union is engaged in the negotiations of the Association Agreement;

O. Whereas civil society and media are under permanent pressure in Azerbaijan; whereas Azerbaijan ranks 143 in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, ranks 152 Press Freedom index;

1.  Strongly condemns the murder of Rafig Tagi and expresses its concern over the safety of Samir Sadagatoglu; dismayed with the failure of the Azerbaijani authorities to condemn the murder of Rafig Tagi and ensure public awareness of the investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death;

2.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to carry out a thorough, prompt and effective investigation into the death of Rafiq Tagi which must include the context of his professional activities as a journalist and writer;

3.  Welcomes the move of the Azerbaijani government to set up a special working group to investigate the attack on Rafiq Tagi and urges it to use all resources to bring the criminals who committed this terrible crime to trial;

4.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to do their utmost to protect the life and safety of Samir Sadagatoglu;

5.  Reminds that the ICCPR provides for freedom of opinion and expression, including criticism of religions and belief; stresses that the right to free speech, both offline and online, is fundamental to a free and democratic society as well as to the protection and promotion of other rights; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to refrain from using the articles of the criminal law to stifle free debate on religion;

6.  Reiterates that unrestricted access to information and communication and uncensored access to the internet (internet freedom) are universal rights and indispensable for human rights such as free expression and access to information, as well as for ensuring transparency and accountability in public life;

7.  Urges the Iranian authorities to remove the concept of “deserving of death” from the revised Penal Code currently under discussion in Iran’s parliament; is gravely concerned that the existence of fatwas calling for the killing of an individual could be used as a defence in Iranian court by individuals accused of murder, on the basis that the victim "deserved to die"; urges the Iranian authorities to ensure that anyone suspected of inciting, planning, committing or aiding murder, whether the killing takes place in Iran or elsewhere, is brought to justice in a trial which fully meets international fair trial standards;


8. Calls on the Iranian authorities to provide all necessary cooperation to the Azerbaijani authorities during the investigation of the murder of Rafig Tagi and to ensure that its clerics do not call for the murder of anyone, and specifically do not seek to influence people on other countries;


9. Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to show its genuine commitment to human rights and comply with its obligations under international law, and in the context of Euronest, the Eastern Partnership or any future Association Agreement with the EU, in particular the protection of the right to life and to freedom of expression;


10. Recalls that any relations with the EU including economic and trade relations are conditional upon respect for human rights and democratic values;


11. Is strongly concerned by continuous jailing of 17 prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to demonstrate good will and release these individuals ahead of its mandate as a non-permanent member of the UNSC; and to allow for the development of civil society and media organizations;


12.  Expresses its deep concern at the arrests, prosecutions and imprisonment of Farhad Aliyev and Rafiq Aliyev despite the documented breaches during court proceedings; calls for the immediate enforcement  of the judgment of the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), which found Azerbaijan violating several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to remedy the situation and as a matter of urgency to allow for the necessary medical treatment and access to medication for Farhad Aliyev;


13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the EEAS, European Council, European Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, UN Human Rights Council.