PACE Presses Azerbaijan to Free Political Prisoners or Face Consequences

BAKU (Armenpress)–The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) warned Azerbaijan on Wednesday–that it must free its remaining political prisoners or face punitive measures.

The assembly’s rapporteur on political prisoners–Malcolm Bruce–said in Baku earlier this week that it wanted to see progress by its next meeting in April–or it would press for a review of the former Soviet republic’s membership in the 46-nation Council of Europe.

Human rights activists in Azerbaijan say some 100 political prisoners remain in jail–including more than 40 people arrested in October 2003 in a police crackdown on protests that broke out after presidential elections that the opposition claimed were rigged.

Azerbaijan Joined the Council of Europe in 2001.

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