Committee of Ministers urges Azerbaijan to restore applicants’ rights without further delay

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Strasbourg/12.03.20/Turan: On 5 March, in the Ilgar Mammadov group of cases, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted its first interim resolution under Article 46 § 5 of the European Convention. Deeply regretting Azerbaijan’s continued failure to restore the applicants’ rights, the Committee urged the authorities to ensure without further delay that all eight applicants’ convictions are quashed and the negative consequences thereof are eliminated, which includes full restoration of their civil and political rights. Azerbaijan was given the deadline of 30 April 2020 to report on the measures undertaken in line with the Committee’s indications.

The applicants in this group of cases are an opposition politician – Ilgar Mammadov and civil society activists and human-rights defenders –  Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, Rashad Hasanov, Zaur Gurbanli, Uzeyir Mammadli, Rashadat Akhundov and Intigam Aliyev. They were all the subject of criminal proceedings which the European Court found to constitute a misuse of criminal law, intended to punish and silence them. The Court noted that all these judgments reflected “a troubling pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of government critics, civil society activists and human-rights defenders through retaliatory prosecutions and misuse of criminal law in defiance of the rule of law”.

On 29 May 2019, in its judgment in the infringement proceedings initiated by the Committee of Ministers, the European Court confirmed that Azerbaijan had failed to fulfil its obligation to execute the first judgment in this group dating back to May 2014.

The adoption of an interim resolution is the first step taken by the Committee under Article 46 § 5 of the European Convention, which provides that when the Court finds that a member state is in infringement of the Convention obligations, the case is referred back to the Committee for consideration of the measures to be taken.

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