47-year-old Ilgar Mammadov was arrested in 2013 after traveling to northern Azerbaijan to observe and report on riots. In 2014 he was sentenced to seven years in prison on fabricated charges of inciting mass violence.
– The inability of the Council of Europe (CoE) to hold Azerbaijan accountable as a member is undermining the credibility of the entire body, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
In a letter to member states of CoE, Engesland is urging them to support an infringement procedure against Azerbaijan, which may lead to Azerbaijan losing its CoE membership.
NHC welcomes a new effort to ensure the release of the Azerbaijani political activist and prisoner of conscience. Recently, the Secretary General of CoE, Torbjorn Jagland, called on the member states to support an infringement procedure against Azerbaijan. Under the procedure, the Committee of Ministers may refer to the European Court of Human Rights the question of whether Azerbaijan has failed to fulfil its obligation to respect human rights in the case.
-The Committee of Ministers should act now and ensure that Azerbaijan starts to live up to its obligations, says Engesland.