Azerbaijani parliamentarian releases document in PACE on political prisoners in Armenia

Azerbaijani parliamentarian releases document in PACE on political prisoners in Armenia
# 28 April 2009 14:29 (UTC +04:00)
The document signed by PACE members says that arrests and pursuits for political motives in some member states of the Council of Europe cause serious concern.
The thesis “Even one political prisoner in the Council of Europe member states is more than normal” is the principal position of the Council of Europe and there is a need to take concrete steps so that this fair approach does not remain as a statement only. Issue on mass violation of human rights in Armenia were raised in the Assembly several times, serious documents were prepared. Though these problems were mentioned while discussing Armenia’s commitments vis-à-vis the Council of Europe, it was offered to impose sanctions against this country, neither Armenia took real measures to normalize the situation, nor the Assembly took any measures against Armenia.

There are a number of sorrowful facts that in connection with the people’s protests against the violations of law during the presidential elections in Armenia on February 19, 2008, the authorities used force, peaceful demonstrations were dispersed by killing, beating, arresting the demonstrators. They were shown in the related reports of the Council of Europe (resolution 1609 (2008) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia; resolution 1620 (2008) on the implementation by Armenia of Assembly Resolution 1609; resolution 1643 (2009) on the implementation by Armenia of Assembly resolutions 1609 and 1620), in the report of the Human Rights watch “Armenia: Police beat peaceful protesters in Yerevan” 02.03.2008, in the important websites of the world.

The document says that there are hundreds of political prisoners in Armenian prisons now.
“Armenian government continues its illegal activity ignoring calls of nongovernmental organizations, Council of Europe and a number of other international organizations. Instead of solving the problem, the number of political prisoners increases, most Armenian citizens leave the county to escape political pursuit and terror, antidemocratic regime in the country.

The Council of Europe must not leave the Armenian people alone in this situation and must take immediate measures to stabilize the situation and to facilitate establishing of international law norms and protection of human rights in the country. Five principles elaborated by the Council of Europe experts and adopted by the Assembly regarding the notion of political prisoner (“Political prisoners in Europe”, doc. 9465, May 2002; “Problem of the determination of accepted comprehensive criterions on the notion of political prisoner”, doc. 9462, January 2003) can be implemented concerning the number of Armenian citizens arrested for political reasons and with serious procedural violations. Taking it into consideration the Assembly is insistently recommending to appoint special rapporteur immediately for investigation of the problem of political prisoner in Armenia and to prepare detailed report about the problem”.

Commenting the spread document to APA European bureau Rafael Huseynov said Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001 and the issue of political prisoner has been raised at the Council since than. “There is no such notion in law. It is a notion created by the politicians”, member of Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Rafael Huseynov told APA. He said during the discussions on the problem of political prisoner there were questions about the criterions used for determination of this notion. “The expert group established by PACE elaborated five principles to determine the notion of political prisoner and at one time these principles were a basis of investigation on Azerbaijan only. We raised the issue for many times that the principles must be implemented in all European countries because certain people arrested there can be considered as political prisoners according to those criterions and it must be investigated without different approach and with same mechanism. This issue was not focused for long years because of double standards. The problem of political prisoner was discussed at the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and we raised the issue at this Committee recently”.

Rafael Huseynov emphasized that the Council of Europe pursues the policy of double standard not implementing the notion of political prisoner in other countries. “Unfortunately the Council of Europe doesn’t value the prisoners arrested in post-election bloody events in other countries, particularly newly independent countries, and valued by NGOs as a political prisoner. Therefore we prepared the document and put the issue on agenda. This document was prepared on the basis of proposals made for resolutions and recommendations issued at the Council of Europe. It described the raising of this issue in other countries of Europe, including Armenia. PACE deputies showed great interest to this document and signed it. The document was submitted to PACE Secretariat. I think the document will be discussed soon at the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights, as well as at the Sub-Committee on Human Rights. It is expected also to be reviewed by PACE Bureau. It is expected that the Council of Europe will bring the investigation of political prisoner issue in other countries in agenda and will appoint the rapporteur on this issue”.