Law 12:34 10/04/2015 PACE co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan avoids visit to Baku because of country authorities’ pressure

The visit to Azerbaijan by PACE (the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) co-rapporteur, Spanish MP Pedro Agramunt, planned for 8-9 April has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, PACE official page on Twitter reads. However, the Azerbaijani media outlet has learnt that Agramunt avoids visiting Baku because the authorities of Azerbaijan put pressure on him and insist that he change the term ‘political prisoners’ into ‘prisoners whose criminal cases have got alleged political motives’ in his upcoming report in PACE on the human rights situation in that country.

According to the article, Agramunt, in his turn, tries to use his ‘health problems’ as an excuse for postponing the visit. Citing Saida Gojamanli, a member of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Human Rights, the outlet writes that one way or another the Spanish MP will have to pay a visit to Azerbaijan till the end of June, that is, till the beginning of the summer session.

The outlet reminds that PACE commissioned Agramunt to file a report on human rights in Azerbaijan in June 2014 following numerous appeals from the local activists, and that period coincided with Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers of the CoE. During this period Azerbaijan not only failed to make a progress in the field of human rights, but it also saw dramatic aggravation of the situation due to the arrests of the activists and the journalists.

The outlet writes that Agramunt had been keeping silent for a long time and did not pay a single visit to Baku till March 2014 when he arrived on a shot-term visit to Azerbaijan with his Polish colleague Tadeusz Iwiński, the co-rapporteur of the PACE Monitoring Committee. However, as the outlet highlights, the PACE rapporteurs avoided public statements and press conferences during that visit.

In January 2013 European Stability Initiative NGO demanded PACE co-rapporteur Pedro Agramunt’s resignation because of making a biased report and hiding the whole truth about the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan. It called him an active representative of ‘caviar diplomacy.’ During the winter session of PACE European Stability Initiative issued a report titled “Caviar Diplomacy” which highlighted the names of those who were engaged in Azerbaijani lobbying and got ‘caviar in return.’ Pedro Agramunt’s name was the first in the list.

Earlier, in 2012, Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus had reported that PACE rapporteurs on Azerbaijan, Agramunt and Gresh, were being bribed by the Azerbaijani authorities. Yunus said that the rapporteurs ignored all the materials they were given regarding the facts of human rights violations and did not include them in their preliminary report. In particular, the report did not include the cases of Turach Zeynalov’s death from tortures in the detention centre of the Ministry of National Security of Nakhijevan; the tortures of Nakhijevani activist Zeynal Bagirzade; and the tortures of two journalists from Hayal TV. The section “Freedom of Expression” did not include the cases of the arrest of the journalists Avaz Zeynalli and Anar Bayramli, Idrak Abbasov’s beating and Khadija Ismayilova’s persecutions. The issue of rejecting NGO registration was not highlighted while considering the “freedom of assembly,” etc.


«Caviar price» in PACE and struggle of Armenian diplomacy; head of Armenian delegation in PACE commenting...

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