We have discussed with the Azerbaijani authorities on a number of occasions the investigations involving Farhad Aliyev and others. We are concerned to hear of the continuing health problems experienced by Farhad Aliyev.
We remind the authorities of the importance of handling these investigations and any subsequent trials transparently, promptly and fully in accordance with the law and with Azerbaijan’s international commitments. We also remind the authorities of the need to ensure that the defendants’ right of access to appropriate medical care is respected.
International organisations including the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Council of Europe have identified a number of shortcomings in the judicial system in Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Justice in Azerbaijan is taking important steps to improve the training of judges, but we assess that there is still much room for improvement in the conduct of the legal system.
The political opposition faces significant impediments to its ability to operate freely in Azerbaijan. We have made our concerns known to the Government of Azerbaijan on a number of occasions, including during and after the 2005 parliamentary elections and during 2006.
Democracy and the rule of law are highlighted as priority areas for reforms in an EU European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Azerbaijan, which was agreed and adopted in November 2006.