Society 13:22 11/02/2013

‘‘Zerkalo’’: Pro-Azerbaijani co-rapporteurs of PACE try to protect themselves, condemning arrests of oppositionists

PACE Monitoring Committee co-rapporteur Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Debono Grekh expressed deep concern about the current negative developments in Azerbaijan including the detention and conviction of peaceful demonstrators and the arrests of opposition leaders, the Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo says.

“I can understand these two rapporteurs of PACE. It was so hard to work with some of our defenders, to frustrate the PACE resolution on political prisoners in Azerbaijan which was prepared by the German deputy Christopher Strasser. Once again some Azerbaijani human rights activists called on “not to irritate the official Baku.” They convinced their colleagues that in the near future the Azerbaijani authorities will release all remaining political prisoners. They even organized international campaign for human rights violations in Germany and get what they aimed for. And then we started to “give birth” to new political prisoner,” the article says.

The author notes that the already damaged reputation and political career of PACE rapporteurs about Azerbaijan were under threat; even the “pro-Azerbaijani approach” did not help them. “After all, Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Grekh realize that “commitment” to the "European values" demonstrated by Baku will allow political enemies of these two “Friends of Azerbaijan” to remind them all, including how they were trying to cast doubt on the honesty and decency of Strasser. And one has to secure himself, at least partially. Charity begins at home,” the article says.

The article notes that the arrests of opposition in Azerbaijan were also condemned by the principals of the school of Political Studies of the Council of Europe. They demanded the immediate release of Ilgar Mamedov by the authorities of Azerbaijan. Ilgar Mamedov was arrested for organizing riots in Ismayilli district on 23-24 January. “Naturally, our “Yeni Azerbaijanis” could not forgive such a betrayal,” the Zerkalo writes.

“The intervention of international organizations, including the PACE, in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan is wrong,” said the deputy chairman of “Yeni Azerbaijan”, MP Ali Akhmedov commenting on PACE co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan in connection with the arrest of Tofig Yagublu and Ilgar Mamedov. According to A. Ahmedov, international organizations protest against legal assessment and intervention in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan are wrong, “Membership of any country in the international organization does not mean limiting of the rights of that country.”

“The logic here is very simple and even tough. One good turn deserves another. After all the victory of the “devastating outcome” over “enemies of Azerbaijan” and first of all with Strasser, seems too dear. Here one caviar would not do.”

And yet, in author’s opinion, the arguments of Mr. Akhmedov are not tenable. First, membership in any international organization imposes certain restrictions and obligations on member-countries, including internal politics and the legal system. Second, to assess political processes taking place in the country; for example, limiting the right to freedom of assembly and politically motivated arrests is the direct responsibility of the PACE rapporteurs. And Grekh and Agramunt evaded of immediate obligations for rather long time.

“Third, the double standards of our judicial system not only shock but leave no choice even for such “friends of Azerbaijan” as Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Grekh. It turns out that those involved in the case on the organization of the vast auctions of mandates of deputies have always been and now are free, while, Ilgar Mamedov and Tofig Yagublu, whose fault has not yet been proved, are arrested for two months. This does not cause any question with one of our main “Yeni Azerbaijanis,” Zerkalo writes.

Ilgar Mamedov as director of the Baku School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe is in fact, the staff member of this international organization. This fact inevitably will lead Mamedov’s case into huge international resonance. Never before were the representatives of influential international organization in Azerbaijan attracted to criminal proceedings.

Unrests in Ismailli district began at the evening of January 23, after an accident in which the nephew of the head of Nizami Alekperov and son of the Minister of Labor Fizuli Alekperov - Vugar Alekperov - were involved. As a result a revolt arose; the participants set to fire commercial entities belonging to officials. Special Forces and internal troops entered the district. They used rubber bullets and tear gas against the rebels. There were dozens of arrested and injured in the result of clashes.

The police did not let Ilgar Mamedov and the opposition group that had arrived in Ismailli district on January 24 to enter into the city and sent them back to Baku. Ismayilli region is located in the north of Azerbaijan and is bordered by Guba region, where in March 2012 the population rioted against lawlessness of Azerbaijani officials. Ismayilli region just like Guba, is also included in the historical area of indigenous nations of Azerbaijan.

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