ASPS President Catherine Lalumière hails the release of Ilgar Mammadov

The Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe (ASPS)  welcomes the release of Human Rights defender, Ilgar Mammadov, by the Azerbaijani authorities, ASPS President, Catherine Lalumière, said on 16 August. However the former Council of Europe Secretary General pointed out that Mammadov should have been freed long ago and unconditionally.

Ilgar Mammadov, Director of the Baku School and a leader of the opposition ReAL movement, was arrested in 2013 prior to the the Presidential elections in which he was to have been a candidate. Charged with inciting riots in a town in the north of the country he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. The prosecution was ruled to be groundless in a 2014 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights which Azerbaijan has ignored.

Hailing Ilgar Mammadov’s courage, Catherine Lalumière said his conviction should be set aside and that he should be acquitted. In conclusion, Catherine Lalumière called for the release of all other political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Turkey and other European countries. Europe must respect justice, Human Rights and the values on which the Council of Europe and the European Union were founded, she said.

Current Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland also released a statement on the release of Mr Mammadov, saying “News that the Shaki Court of Appeal in Azerbaijan today ordered the release of prominent human rights defender Ilgar Mammadov after more than five years in prison is to be welcomed. We cannot accept political prisoners in Europe, innocent people should not be deprived of their liberty and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights must be executed.”