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European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) has to state with concern that a number of states that are home to EPDE member organizations are not only marked by a regression in the field of free and democratic elections, but also grossly violate human rights, with ongoing harassment of civil society activists for their civic and human rights activities.

According to reports of the national and international observation missions, the Azerbaijani presidential election of October 9, 2013 was marked by gross violations of electoral rights of citizens and massive manipulations of the will of the citizens of Azerbaijan.

The officially announced election results in no way reflect the actual voting results. Thus, elections in Azerbaijan do not meet international standards.

Of particular concern are the repressions against independent observation organizations in Azerbaijan that followed the presidential election of October 9, 2013.

The Platform expresses protest against frivolous and unlawful criminal prosecution of a member of the Coordinative Board of the Platform, the head of the Azerbaijan-based Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS), Anar Mammadli, and other members of the organization, who have been under investigation since October 31, 2013 for receiving financial support for their activities from international donor organizations. The persecution also concerned EMDS partner organization, International Cooperation of Volunteers Public Union (ICV).

Apartments of the organization’s members were searched and the activists themselves were interrogated by order of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan. The organization’s leader, Anar Mammadli, and four other civil activists have been prohibited from leaving the territory of Azerbaijan.

We regard such actions of the Azerbaijani authorities as an act of revenge against the prominent organization of Azerbaijan for its independent, honest and principled position in assessing the results of the presidential election in Azerbaijan.

The Platform also protests against the illegal conviction of Ales Bialiatski, Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, who has been imprisoned since August 2011 for human rights activities of the organization he heads supported by funds received from international donor organizations. Ales Bialiatski was declared a prisoner of conscience and his unconditional release has been requested by all the democratic organizations and the international human rights community.

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