Council of Europe Criticizes Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–In its September 10 meeting held in Paris–the Council of Europe (CE) monitoring group harshly criticized Azerbaijan for its inability to adhere to commitmen’s it made to the CE.

According to sources in Baku–the meeting criticized Azerbaijan for its treatment of political prisoners and its repression of free speech. The CE group also denounced Azerbaijan’s August 24 Constitutional referendum.

Earlier–Samed Seidov–who represents Azerbaijan in the CE session–told the ANS news agency that the monitoring group had praised the referendum as an important step towards democracy. Rapporteur Andreas Gross–however did not confirm this–stating that the CE has certain concerns in this regard. "During the referendum–the government missed its chance to establish a civil society," Gross was quoted as saying.

Gross refused to speak on possible sanctions.

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