World Movement for Democracy Called for Immediate Release of Human Rights Activists in Azerbaijan
The Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy called on official Baku immediately release the arrested human rights activists and expressed deep concern because of the continuing deterioration of the situation for civil society.
"We urge the Azerbaijani government to immediately release Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus and Intigam Aliyev on humanitarian grounds. The health status of Leyla Yunus has deteriorated in detention, her life is in danger. The health of her husband Arif Yunus and Intigam Aliyev also deteriorated, "the statement said.
The document further mentioned the arrest of Rasul Jafarov, Ilgar Mamedov, Khadija Ismailova and others.
The World Movement for Democracy has repeatedly attracted the attention of the international community to continuous slipping of Azerbaijan to extreme authoritarianism.
"We will continue to do so later in connection with expanding the persecution of human rights and pro-democracy activists and urge the government to respect the commitments in the field of democracy, taken when joining the Council of Europe," the document says.
"The members of the Steering Committee encourage the Government of Azerbaijan to stop the violent suppression of civil society. Government repression is unprecedented for a member of the Council of Europe. In Azerbaijan, there are about 100 political prisoners and NGOs are almost blocked.
On September 18 the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all political prisoners, and called on the Council of Europe "to consider the possibility of targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations.
However, a few months after the adoption of this resolution, the situation in the country deteriorated significantly.
As a result, the Civil Solidarity Platform, which includes 25 European and Eurasian organizations, called for the removal of Azerbaijan from the Council of Europe," the document noted,
Despite numerous appeals of international organizations, no change in the behavior of the Azerbaijani authorities happened. "Therefore, we urge the Council of Europe to suspend the membership of Azerbaijan until all charges are cleared and civil society activists, lawyers, journalists and political activists, who are now in jail for their professional activities, are released," the statement notes.
We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to urgently release Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus and Intigam Aliyev on humanitarian grounds. This is just a small thing that the government can make as a member of the Council of Europe and the community of civilized nations," the statement notes.
Note that the World Movement for Democracy includes dozens of NGOs from many countries, and its Steering Committee is composed of former government officials and leaders of prominent international non-governmental organizations.
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