PACE Discusses Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan

STRASBOURG (Armenpress)–The report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan–presented by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights–was referred back to the committee following a proposal by rapporteur Georges Clerfayt (Belgium–LDR)–acting in his capacity as a member of the Assembly.

According to Armen Rustamian–the chairman of Armenian Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee and PACE delegate–the report foresees sanctions against Azerbaijan–particularly the accreditation of Azeri delegation in PACE in January of 2004.

On Clerfayt’s suggestion–voting on this issue was postponed until September in order to give Azerbaijan another chance to free political prisoners.

Similar sanctions to strip the voting rights of Armenian members of PACE because of widespread fraud in this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia were discussed during a June 23 session of PACE. The suggestion surprised even the rapporteur on Armenia who was a member of the PACE monitoring commission

Asked if Armenia and Azerbaijan are in the same position–Rustamian said no–because unlike Armenia–Azerbaijan’s issue will be discussed. "The bill concerning Azerbaijan is ready and only voting is left. No such process was started against us and in this regard we are not in the same position. Schreiner’s report has no legal consequences for us," said Rustamian.

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