Statement on the early release from prison of investigative reporter Afgan Mukhtarli
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Statement on the early release from prison of investigative reporter Afgan Mukhtarli

Statement by MEPs David McAllister and Marina Kaljurand on the early release from prison of investigative reporter Afgan Mukhtarli.

Two days ago, the Azerbaijani authorities released investigative reporter Afgan Mukhtarli, who had been abducted in Tbilisi in 2017 and was serving a six-year prison sentence based on dubious charges, and allowed him to fly to Germany to be reunited with his wife and daughter. In our respective capacities as Chairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the EP delegation to the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, we very much welcome this positive development. At the same time, however, we regret that the competent authorities so far failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances of Mr Mukhtarli’s abduction and reiterate that accountability needs to be ensured and that the due and fair process of law should always prevail.

We now call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all imprisoned political prisoners, journalists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists, and to fully restore their political and civil rights, in line with all relevant European Parliament recommendations.

We sincerely hope the release of Mr Mukhtarli will set a positive precedent, which will lead to a deepening of the relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, and ultimately the signing of an ambitious Comprehensive Agreement.“