July 1, 2014 - 15:47 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev revealed himself as a braggart and a bully during a Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg last week, UK MP Paul Flynn believes.
“To others he is a sinister menacing threat, growing richer by the month, who could bring war back to Caucasus. Human rights organizations have warned that Azerbaijan does not qualify to chair the Council of Europe – the world’s leading defenders of human rights,” Flynn says.
The politician says he was given 30 seconds to ask him a question in Strasbourg and he asked: “I have met bloggers and journalists who have been falsely accused and imprisoned in Azerbaijan, elections have been rigged. Will your presidency mean that Azerbaijan will be elevated to the COE standard of human rights or will other states see their standards of human rights degraded to your deplorable level?”
“Aliyev lost his temper as he did with all challenging questioners. He accused me of lying. He added to his previous hyperbole of his country’s immaculate human rights record by denying the two charges I had briefly made,” Flynn says.
Perhaps Mr Aliyev should read the OCSE monitors’ report on his 2013 election, Flynn advises. “The 9 October election was undermined by limitations on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association that did not guarantee a level playing field for candidates. Continued allegations of candidate and voter intimidation and a restrictive media environment marred the campaign. Significant problems were observed throughout all stages of Election Day processes and underscored the serious nature of the shortcomings that need to be addressed in order for Azerbaijan to fully meet its OSCE commitments for genuine and democratic elections.”
“The counting was assessed in overwhelmingly negative terms, with 58 per cent of observed polling stations assessed as bad or very bad, indicating serious problems. In 15 observed counts, IEOM (International Election Observation Mission) observers reported manipulation of voter list entries, results or protocols, including cases of votes being reassigned to a different candidate.”
Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director of Human Rights Watch commented: “It’s sheer irony that Azerbaijan presides over a body whose standards it so flagrantly violates. The Council of Europe’s leadership should not miss this opportunity to urge Aliyev to free people who are behind bars for nothing more than speaking their minds and to allow independent groups to operate.”
“Aliyev’s vast oil wealth is being used to seduce the world and convince us of his bottomless virtue. Inevitably his speech contained the usual complaint about the West’s lack of intervention in the 22 year frozen conflict in Nagorno Karabakh. Aliyev hinted on some action. Observers of the conflict expressed fears to me that he may be planning military action. Our best hope to avoid bloodshed is to ensure the conflict remains in permafrost,” Flynn concludes.