Isabel Santos: I’m going to visit Anar Mammadov

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The situation with the freedoms and human rights in Azerbaijan is poor and requires political will and concrete steps to improve the situation, said in an exclusive interview with Turan Isabel Santos ,the head of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Commenting on the results of the discussions of these issues, on the eve with representatives of NGOs in Azerbaijan, she noted that “some people have different opinion on the principles than we have, but we have a good experience and know how to talk and how to build relationships when there are such contradictions. ”

Asking the question whether she agrees with the opinion of the official Baku that the criticism of Western institutions is based on false and biased information, Isabel Santos noted that such statements are unfounded.

“We have enough experienced experts, a clear methodology and standards. We do not do anything by accident or by mistake. All information is collected and cross-checked from various sources.

We know these statements by the authorities that Western experts are biased, they do everything by order, and so on. This is not news for us, and we face this sort of thing often, and different countries,” said Santos.

Does it seem to her, in such a case that the reports and records of the OSCE are useless if the authorities ignore them and consider them ordered? Answering this question, Isabel Santos said: “Yes, they are always useless and not necessary if the authorities do not have a desire to improve or change the situation. I’m not sure whether your authorities so wish, but I hope that it is, and the government uses this opportunity,” she said.

Is it true that you asked for a meeting with someone from the political prisoners? Santos gave a positive response, saying that the talk is about Anar Mammadov.

“About three weeks ago through a central office in Vienna, I formally requested a meeting with Mammadov. I hope that today or tomorrow I will be given the opportunity,” she said.

Santos was asked about sad experience of the EU Commissioner Nellie Kroes, who requested Ilham Aliyev about a meeting with political prisoners, and she was given a positive response. But having arrived at the prison and waited there for several hours, she was told she did not understand the president, that she was not given permission, and she should request not the head of state, but the Ministry of Justice? Answering this question Isabel Santos said she asked in advance, and she still did not receive an answer. “The authorities have had enough time to tell me what is the procedure in such matters. But I’m sure that the authorities will not reject, and I will meet with him. I want to see him personally, to clarify some issues and to support him,” said Santos.

Some Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan believe that the West changed democracy for oil. That is why the West turns a blind eye to violations of human rights and freedoms, the violation of democracy in Azerbaijan. What is the answer of Isabel Santos to these accusations.

“For me, the value of democracy is not for sale. I personally would not change them for anything,” she said.

The how to explain, that after all the undemocratic elections, according to the OSCE, the head of Azerbaijan receives congratulations from Washington and Brussels, not to mention the other?

“Everyone should be responsible for themselves. In this case, I can firmly say one thing, my position is not subjected to any influence,” said Santos.

What is your message to the Democrats in Azerbaijan? This is the answer of the head of the Committee of the OSCE PA:

“You can have a lot of oil, money, good economy. But if there is no freedom of speech, assembly, expression, free elections and other fundamental freedoms, the country cannot be considered a developed one. All this development at some point stops, and stops working. This has already happened in the history more than once. Do not forget this.”


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