The release of two prisoners of conscience today is a positive move, but with 20 others behind bars, it is little more than a tokenistic gesture to appease critics in the run up to the European Games, said Amnesty International.
Bashir Suleymanli and Orkhan Eyyubzade, both outspoken critics of President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani political regime, have been released today as part of the presidential pardon announced yesterday.
“This is heartening news, but what about other prisoners who are still behind bars in Azerbaijan for no real crime but criticising the regime? The Azeri authorities give with one hand and take with the other. Only two days ago, the Azerbaijani Court imprisoned the brother of an outspoken political opposition leader for six years on trumped up charges,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia team.