Azerbaijan Concerned Over Delay in 907 Waiver

BAKU (Armenpress)–The Baku-based daily Echo writes that Azerbaijan is concerned with the delay of the official waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–which prohibits the US government from providing direct aid to Azerbaijan–until that country lifts its blockade of Armenia and Karabakh.

"Although President Bush gave the authority to waive Section 907 and was expected to ratify the waiver before the end of 2001–he does not seem to be in any rush to proceed with the waiver. Now the US administration says it will be waived before the end of January 2002," reported Echo.

Citing unnamed diplomatic sources–the Azeri daily blames the delay on the OSCE parliamentarians–who demand that Azerbaijan should fulfill its commitmen’s to the Council of Europe–specifically the principle regarding political prisoners.

Furthermore–the daily writes–some members of the OSCE suggest that Azerbaijan should be temporarily deprived of its Council of Europe mandate for refusing to meet its obligations.

In a letter–sent to Azerbaijan’s President Haydar Aliyev–the Secretary General of the Council of Europe writes that even one political prisoner is a serious breach for any Council of Europe member country.

The Baku-based Zerkalo daily reported that an Azeri citizen Telman Ismayilov–accused of collaboration with Ettela’at (Iranian intelligence service)–was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The court found that Ismayilov was carrying out special instructions from an officer of the Ettela’at’s Parsabad city branch–Yaqub Mohammadi.

The defendant was charged with providing the Iranians with information about the deployment of Azerbaijani army units.

Ismayilov was detained at the Bilasuvar checkpoint on July 10,2001–while trying to cross the border to Iran.

Meanwhile–A meeting of senior Azeri editors accused the chairman of the Union of Journalists–Aflatun Amasov–of falsifying the results of a poll of mass media representatives–which declared president Haydar Aliyev as the "friend of journalists," Azeri news agency Bilik Dunyasi reported.

"There is no way that head of a state who presides over the systematic persecution of journalists can be described as a ?friend of journalists’," the agency quoted one of the editors as saying.

The deputy chairman of the Justice Party–Mutallim Rahimli–was quoted as saying that an independent journalist does not need a friend in a powerful position–especially if that friend is the president–and in particular if that president is Haydar Aliyev.

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