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Motion for a resolution - B7-0291/2013Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Azerbaijan: the case of Ilgar Mammadov

11.6.2013 - (2013/2668(RSP))

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

Ulrike Lunacek, Werner Schulz, Barbara Lochbihler, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Raül Romeva i Rueda, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0289/2013

NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
Procedure : 2013/2668(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Azerbaijan: the case of Ilgar Mammadov


The European Parliament,

-     having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Azerbaijan with regard, in particular, to the recommendation of 18 April 2012 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the negotiations of the EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement,


-     having regard to the Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on "Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy" of 15 May 2012,


- having regard to the Commission’s 2012 Progress report on Azerbaijan of April 2013,


- having regard to the joint statement of 6 June 2013 by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle on the new restrictions to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan,


- having regard to the joint statement of 9 February 2013 by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle on recent events in Azerbaijan,


- having regard to the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland of 3 May 2013, concerning new charges brought against Ilgar Mammadov,


- having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EC and Azerbaijan which entered into force in 1999 and to the ongoing negotiations between the two parties of a new association agreement due to replace the previous one,


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



A.  whereas the overall human rights situation in Azerbaijan has constantly deteriorated over the last few years in spite of the adoption of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan, with growing pressure on and intimidation of NGOs and independent media that have caused a widespread sense of fear among opposition forces and human rights defenders as well as youth and social network activists and have led to self-censorship among journalists,


B.  whereas Azerbaijan is one of the founding members of the Eastern Partnership; whereas at the Warsaw Summit of 20/30 September 2011 the EU and Eastern European leaders reaffirmed that the Eastern Partnership is based on a community of values and principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law,


C.  whereas on February 4, 2013, Baku’s Nasimi District Court remanded Ilgar Mammadov, a political analyst who is chair of the opposition group “REAL” and Tofig Yagublu, deputy chair of the opposition political party Musavat and a journalist with opposition daily Yeni Musavat, to two months’ pretrial custody; whereas in addition to his political role, Mammadov is a prominent anti-corruption activist who serves on the advisory board of the Revenue Watch Institute ,


D.  whereas before his arrest Ilgar Mammadov was chosen as candidate of the opposition party REAL for the presidential elections scheduled for October 2013,


E.  whereas the Council of Europe representative in Baku was not admitted to the initial court hearing in February, and in addition, a group of Council of Europe ambassadors who recently visited Azerbaijan was not allowed to visit Ilgar Mammadov,


F.  whereas Mammadov’s two month pre-trial detention was extended twice: for two months, and then again for 3 more months; whereas according to recent reports Ilgar Mammadov has been placed in a punishment cell raising concerns he is being singled out,


G.  whereas the European Court on Human Rights has recently fast-tracked his case as an indication of its seriousness,


H.  whereas as part of the ongoing crackdown the authorities are using spurious drug and weapons possession charges, and other bogus charges to lock up, exact retribution on, and silence political opposition activists, social media activists, human rights defenders, lawyers and other government critics,


I.  whereas Azerbaijan is currently engaged in consultations with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe on the reform of the defamation legislation , which is also required in order to execute two judgments of the European Court of Human Rights against Azerbaijan; whereas, however, new amendments were adopted by the Azerbaijani Parliament aimed at facilitating the application of defamation provisions to online expression,


J.  whereas another set of amendments adopted in May 2013 significantly increase jail terms for minor public order offenses, such as failing to comply with rules on holding demonstrations,


K.  whereas in March 2013 President Ilham Aliyev signed into law amendments to the Law on Nongovernmental Organisations requiring local groups to inform the authorities of funding or donations above 200 manat and sign a formal contract with donors; whereas a failure to meet these requirements could lead to confiscation of property and exorbitant fines,


L.  whereas since 10 March 2011 the Azerbaijan Human Rights House (AHRH) was forced to suspend its activities until an agreement on those activities is found with the government; whereas after a process of negotiations since April 2011, to date, the Human Rights House has not been allowed to reopen and partner NGOs are denied registration, such as the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre and the Human Rights Club,


1.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ilgar Mammadov as well as the immediate and unconditional release of journalists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists held on politically-motivated charges;


2.  Urges the Azerbaijani authorities to end the practices of selective criminal prosecution and imprisonment of journalists, human rights defenders, and others who criticize the government and to ensure that everyone detained, including journalists, political and civil society activists, enjoy full due process rights, in particular access to a lawyer of their choosing, access to their families, and other fair trial norms;


3.  Regrets that the deepening of economic relations between the EU and Azerbaijan is not matched by a corresponding level of political relations as demonstrated by the slow pace of negotiations of the new Association Agreement due to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that expired in 2009;


4.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately halt all actions aimed at suppressing the freedom of expression and assembly, as this is incompatible with Azerbaijan´s commitments regarding democracy, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;


5.  Urges the Azerbaijani government to ensure that all journalists may work freely without fear of retribution for criticism or coverage of topics that the government may find sensitive and end widespread impunity for harassment and violence against journalists;


6.  Calls on the European Commission President Barroso to speak out on the EU’s human rights concerns vis a vis Azerbaijan during the June 21 2013 visit of President Aliyev to Brussels;


7.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Council and the Commission to ensure that public human rights benchmarks, including those articulated in the ENP Progress Report, are a cornerstone to the EU-Azerbaijan relationship moving forward;


8.  Urges the Parliament of Azerbaijan to adopt legislative amendments that repeal the criminal slander and libel provisions of the Criminal Code and adopt legislative amendments to repeal recent changes criminalizing on-line libel and slander;


9.  Calls for the simplification of overly complicated and lengthy procedure for registration of NGOs and for substantial legislative amendments to repeal changes limiting NGOs to accept donations without the state registration;


10.  Urges the Azerbaijani authorities and unconditionally to give the authorization to the Azerbaijan Human Rights House to reopen and register the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre and the Human Rights Club without further delay or administrative burdern;


11.  Takes the view that the Association Agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan currently being negotiated must include strong clauses on the protection and promotion of human rights, especially with regard to freedom of the media and the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, which reflect the principles and rights enshrined in the Constitution of Azerbaijan and commitments of Azerbaijan in the frameworks of the Council of Europe and OSCE;


12.  Calls on the EEAS to organise regular meetings at the EU Delegation in Baku with independent human rights organisations, including by coordinating those meetings with EU Member State representations, and use those meetings to show public support for the work of human rights defenders; urges the EEAS to monitor closely all trials and judicial proceedings against human rights defenders and to report to the European Parliament;


13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan the EEAS, the Council, the Commission and the Council of Europe.