European Parliament urges Azerbaijan to immediately and unconditionally release Ilhamiz Guliyev and other political prisoners
April 26, 2024

European Parliament urges Azerbaijan to immediately and unconditionally release Ilhamiz Guliyev and other political prisoners

On 25 April, the European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on Azerbaijan, in particular on repression of civil society, and the cases of Dr Gubad Ibadoghlu and Ilhamiz Guliyev.

MEPs urge Azerbaijan to immediately and unconditionally release Ilhamiz Guliyev, a human rights defender arrested in December 2023, and all other political prisoners, including EU and other nationals. 

They call on the authorities to lift the travel ban and drop all charges against Gubad Ibadoghlu, a political economist and opposition figure, and ensure he receives independent medical care after he was released from jail and placed under house arrest on 22 April.

The resolution was adopted by 474 votes in favour, 4 against and 51 abstentions.

The ongoing human rights violations in Azerbaijan are incompatible with the country hosting COP 29, MEPs say. They want the European Commission to consider suspending the strategic partnership with Azerbaijan in the field of energy. MEPs also insist on making any future partnership agreement conditional to the release of all political prisoners and an improvement of the human rights situation in the country, and they reiterate their call for EU sanctions against Azerbaijani officials who have committed serious human rights violations.

In his speech to the European Parliament, delivered by the European commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said that “the rule of law and human rights are at the core of EU’s relations with Azerbaijan and it will continue to be an important part of our dialogue.”

“We have repeatedly raised our concerns on the intensification of persecution against civil society and independent media in Azerbaijan, which we see as an attempt to intimidate and silence dissenting voices, and suppress freedom of expression,” said Sinkevičius on behalf of Borrell.

He added that since November 2023, there had been several waves of arrests of independent journalists and political activists affiliated with a number of media outlets and non-governmental organisations. At least 16 people have been detained, among them Ilhamiz Guliyev.

He also said that civil society organisations in Azerbaijan were operating under difficult circumstances. 

“Support to these organisations is and will remain a key priority for the European Union, with currently more than €12 million in assistance. We also continue to call on the authorities to allow civil society organisations to operate freely in the country,” Sinkevičius said.

Find out more

Press release

Borrel’s speech


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