How to address the issue of political prisoners in OSCE Participating States?

Side event on the problem of political prisoners in the OSCE area during the lunch break of the second day of the Winter Session of the OSCE PA.

At the event, speakers will present recent developments concerning political prisoners in some of the OSCE Participating States, including Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. There will also be comments on developments in other OSCE Participating States concerning weakening of safeguards for fair trials and increased political control over the judiciary.

There will be presentations by:
Maria Eismont, lawyer and journalist
Vladimir Kara-MurzaVice President, Free Russia Foundation
Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Head of Policies of Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Ilya Nuzov, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Olga Shamshur Flydal, Senior Advisor at Norwegian Helsinki Committee

The event is moderated by Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

The event is hosted by the Delegation of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and is arranged in cooperation with Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the OSCE. There will be opening and ending remarks by Ms Rūta Miliūtė and Mr Laurynas Kasčiūnas, members of the OSCE PA from Lithuania.

Reference will be made to the definition of political prisoner adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2012, and endorsed by the OSCE PA in 2014.

According to this definition, political  imprisonment or deprivation of liberty:

  • violates the European Convention of Human Rights and its Protocols;
  • is imposed for purely political reasons;
  • is excessively long or conditions are clealy out of proportion related to the offence the person has be found guilty of;
  • is discriminatory in the manner of detention compared to other persons; or
  • is the result of proceedings which were unfair and this appears to be connected with political motives of the authorities.

There will be a focus on proposing measures and ideas on how the OSCE and its Participating States can deal with the problem. There will be a Q&A with the audience.

Light lunch will be served outside the Bibliothek Saal from 11:30.



Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal

Deputy Secretary GeneralEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 95 21 03 07Twitter: @GunnarEkelveSly
Read article "Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal"