By Rasana Gasimova
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir’s hasty reaction to the recent snap parliamentary elections, without properly studying the issue, demonstrates his bias against Azerbaijan, Head of the Presidential Administration’s Department of Foreign Policy Affairs Hikmet Hajiyev told local media on February 14.
Hajiyev said that Harlem Désir constantly demonstrates a firm anti-Azerbaijani position by deliberately inflating and politicizing the events taking place in the country.
Hajiyev was commenting on Désir statement where he claimed that media representatives were mistreated by law-enforcers during the unauthorized rally held on February 11 outside of the Central Election Commission's building in Baku, following the snap parliamentary elections held in the country.
The official pointed out to the double standards in Desir’s treatment of Azerbaijan.
“For some reason, the ‘human rights advocate’ Désir ignores the violation of human rights, the persecutions and arrests in Armenia. Armenia’s Prime Minister arrests his political rivals one by one, and threatens to ‘raze them to the ground’”.
“Journalists in Armenia are being arrested and prosecuted. Last year, opposition politician and journalist Mher Yegizaryan died in prison after a hunger strike. Recently, oppositional VETO blogger Narek Malyan was arrested on charges of illegal weapon possession. We can also note Satik Seyranyan, Armen Tavadyan and other persons.”
“However, we do not see any reaction from Désir regarding this issue. Obviously, Desir’s attitude to human rights is determined by geographical locations,” Hajiyev said.
Furthermore, Hajiyev suggested that Azerbaijan might consider not extending Desir’s mandate in June “given Désir’s abuse of power, immense fanning and politicization of issues”.
Azerbaijan held early parliamentary elections on February 9 in a bid to speed up economic and personnel reforms within the government. Some 883 international observers from 58 countries and 59 organizations and 77,790 local observers monitored the voting process in the snap parliamentary elections.
On February 11, Azerbaijani Interior Ministry reported that police officers stopped an unsanctioned rally outside of the Central Election Committee by removing its participants from the venue of protest. Police also detained one of the protesters and his case is under investigation. It was noted that no protester was injured during the rally.
On February 12, President Ilham Aliyev said that only irregularities in the proceedings took place during the election. He noted that existing violations will be seriously investigated, and those who have committed them will be punished. Following this, the Central Election Commission considered the appeals related to the elections in a special meeting held on Feburary 13 and annuled voting results at four constituencies.
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