Following the acquittal of Azerbaijani opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov and the quashing of his earlier conviction, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office issued the following statement today (27 April):
The Supreme Court of Azerbaijan’s ruling of 24 April 2020 to quash the unjust conviction of Ilgar Mammadov, Chairperson of the REAL Party, and to fully rehabilitate him, was long overdue. I hope that this first step by Azerbaijan to cooperate again with the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and to stand to its obligations under this cooperation will be followed by further significant steps to improve the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
Ilgar Mammadov was detained in February 2013, six months before the presidential elections in which he planned to stand as a candidate, and sentenced to seven years in prison in March 2014 on charges of inciting unrest. He was released in August 2018, but had a criminal record, thus making him ineligible to run for election to parliament or as president. As far back as May 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had noted numerous breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered Azerbaijan to overturn the conviction and to compensate Mammadov. On 5 December 2017, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe launched proceedings against Azerbaijan as the latter had still failed to fulfil its obligations under the ECHR ruling.