Azerbaijan Pardons Small Number of Political Prisoners
In response to President Ilham Aliyev announcing the pardon and release of four of nearly 100 human rights activists and opposition figures imprisoned and facing charges in Azerbaijan, Freedom House released the following statement:
“President Aliyev’s limited grant of pardons does not reverse his relentless crackdown on dissent, or the urgent need for the Council of Europe and the United States to demand Azerbaijan respect the fundamental rights of its citizens,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president of Freedom House. “Aliyev has all but criminalized human rights. We urge him to pardon and release the many prisoners whose only offense has been to criticize the government.”
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014 and Freedom of the Press 2014 reports. In Nations in Transit 2014, Azerbaijan receives a democracy score of 6.68 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score. Azerbaijan is rated Partly Free in the Freedom on the Net 2013 report.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.