Today the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the release of Afgan Mukhtarli in Azerbaijan. On 29 May, the journalist and government critic was forcefully abducted from Georgia. He is currently held in arbitrary detention in Azerbaijan.
Persecution of critics
Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) responds: “The case of Afgan Mukhtarli is only the latest example of the targeting and persecution of government critics. With this resolution, we call on the Azerbaijani authorities to unconditionally release him and all other political prisoners.”
The resolution further reminds the Georgian authorities of their responsibilities as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights. Schaake: “The Georgian authorities were obligated to provide protection to Afgan Mukhtarli, as he requested political asylum. They now have to answer to the possible involvement of Georgian state agents in the forced disappearance. This is a very worrying development.”
Earlier this year the EU launched negotiations on the new framework agreement with Azerbaijan, to which the European Parliament has to give its consent. Schaake: “Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must be at the core of this new framework agreement. With this resolution, we remind both the Azerbaijani authorities and the EU negotiators that we are closely monitoring the situation.”
Since 2014, human rights violations have systematically increased with excessive sentences for journalists and human rights defenders.