BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Speaking out against recent allegations that it holds political prisoners, Azerbaijan has brought into the spotlight those countries and international organisations that are quick to accuse Baku of human rights violations, but seem indifferent to the 23-year occupation by Armenia of 20% of Azerbaijani territory.
Elkhan Suleymanov, Member of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Chairman of the Azerbaijani Delegation to Euronest, pointedly noted this double standard in an impassioned speech Wednesday.
"If [these] countries and international organizations are really concerned about the violation of human rights, then why did they ignore the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, mass, brutal, and constant violation of the rights of hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis? Why didn't they press and apply any sanctions against the aggressor?"
Suleymanov also highlighted the long-term blockade of Nakhchivan and warned authorities of the humanitarian and environmental dangers posed by the neglected Sarsang reservoir, which is situated in the occupied Azerbaijani provinces.
Armenia has occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding provinces of Azerbaijan since the end of the war between the two countries more than two decades ago, in violation of international law and despite resolutions by the United Nations, European Parliament, Council of Europe and other bodies demanding that Armenia withdraw its forces from the region.
Suleymanov noted that the concerted efforts by some international organisations to establish lists of political prisoners in Azerbaijan is an attempt to overshadow the situation in Nagorno Karabakh and to harm the country's image.
He also pointed out that the allegations regarding political prisoners are based on shifting standards, and that despite years of effort by Azerbaijan to solidify those standards, the allegations against Baku are nebulous and constantly changing.
He noted that the nature of the allegations regarding political prisoners are invariably one-sided, ignoring the very real crimes of which they are accused and the due process given each defendant. "Each person indicated as an alleged political prisoner in the submitted lists was brought to responsibility due to specific crimes, and the verdict was given about them by courts.
"As you know, those people have the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if they don't agree with the verdict of national courts," he added.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor