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European Parliament calls for release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan

In a resolution adopted on Thursday the MEPs call for the release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

The European Parliament calls for the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus, in line with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and/or a prompt investigation into the death of the journalist Rasim Aliyev.

It demands that the Azerbaijan government immediately end its crackdown on civil society and human rights work and says that “the negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan should be immediately put on hold as long the government fails to take concrete steps in advancing respect for universal human rights”.

The resolution calls on the Commission “to review and suspend temporarily, if needed, all funding not related to human rights, civil society and grassroots level people-to-people cooperation granted to Azerbaijan through the European Neighbourhood Instrument, and recalls Parliament’s decision to send a delegation to Azerbaijan.

The non-legislative resolution was adopted by 365 votes to 202, with 72 abstentions.

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