During the Winter Session from 27-31 January 2014 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed its concern on the imprisonment of Anar Mammadli, Chairman of the Azerbaijan election observation organisation EMDS and board member of EPDE. In this context Maryvonne Blondin, a French MP, called for coordinated efforts of the PACE during the upcoming chairmanship of Azerbajan. A written declaration initiated by Swedish PACE member Tina Acketoft (ALDE) urged to immediately release Anar Mammadli from pre-trial detentions and to guarantee a fair and transparent trial.
During the plenary session on 27 January Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, a Swedish MP, raised the question about the poor quality of the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan in fall 2013 and underlined that she was not behind the report of the PACE delegation, although she was a member of the PACE monitoring group in Azerbaijan. She went on to express her frustration with the process in the Ad hoc committee leading up to the report of the observation of the elections in Azerbaijan on 9 October 2013.
EPDE has previously critisised the statement made by the joint PACE and EP delegations the day after the election. Former rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Andres Herkel (Estonia), commented: “It is better not to send an election observation mission if it is so weak”.
EPDE had a delegation during the first part of the PACE Winter Session in Strasbourg. The group had several meetings, including with the Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks, the current rapporteurs on the monitoring of the obligations of Azerbaijan, Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Debono Grech, and with members of the Delegations.
Anar Mammadli, chairman of the election observation organisation EMDS and board member of EPDE was sentenced to a three months pre-trial detention on 16 December 2013 in Baku. EMDS has been conducting independent election observation of all elections in Azerbaijan since 2001 and has published critical statements on the quality of the last Presidential elections in October 2013.