European Stability Initiative - ESI - 22 October 2017, 04:51
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Showdown in Strasbourg. The Political Prisoner Debate - October 2012

Showdown in Strasbourg. The Political Prisoner Debate

Christoph Straesser (Germany)  

Christoph Straesser (Germany)

"I oppose the view advocated by some that the Parliamentary Assembly should refrain from talking about the matter on the grounds that it is more properly within the remit of the European Court of Human Rights. If this position were adopted members might as well go home. The definition had been used previously in this Assembly and had not been criticised. I find it difficult to understand why some members thought the process had been hasty when it had taken three years. I urge the Assembly not to emasculate itself."

Pietro Marcenario (Italy)  

Pietro Marcenario (Italy)

"The amendment 2 aims to neuter the report and to mortgage the future activity of the Council of Europe. What do those who tabled the amendment hope to achieve by this? Do they want to deny hope to political prisoners?"

Mailis Reps (Estonia)  

Mailis Reps (Estonia)

"If we do not vote for the resolution today, we are giving a right to these people – whether we are talking about the result of lobbying, threatening, blackmailing or any other means – to say that the issue of political prisoners is not to be dealt with by this Parliamentary Assembly. I hope that we can all agree that that should not be the case."

Elena Nikolayeva (Russia)  

Elena Nikolayeva (Russia)

"International law does not have the concept of political prisoners."

Tiny Kox (Netherlands)  

Tiny Kox (Netherlands)

"We all know that history shows that the adoption of the report will not lead governments to release political prisoners."

Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey)  

Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey)

"This is nonsense. This undermines the credibility of this Organisation. We cannot set standards like this. This is not the standard we should be setting."

Marina Schuster (Germany)  

Marina Schuster (Germany)

"Lobbying in this case by Azerbaijan had been unmatched in its brazenness. The Assembly should not be influenced by it. It was time to nail its colours to the mast."

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Germany)  

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Germany)

"Mr Çavuşolĝlu's speech is incredible. As a former President of the Assembly, he should have known better than to make such a speech. I would never have thought that a former President could talk such nonsense."

Andres Herkel (Estonia)  

Andres Herkel (Estonia)

"The amendment tabled by Mr Moriau seem to have the sole aim of destroying the report. I strongly support Mr Strässer and the report and call on members to do the same today."

Mike Hancock (UK)  

Mike Hancock (UK)

"Why has this debate been obsessed with political prisoners who may or not be in prison in Azerbaijan, when this Assembly knows that so many countries have alleged political prisoners?"

Leonid Slutsky (Russia)  

Leonid Slutsky (Russia)

"Whatever the outcome of the afternoon's debate, the text of the resolution would be used for political pressure and it was unfortunate that any drug dealer, terrorist or murderer, such as Anders Behring Breivik, would be able to claim that they were in fact a political prisoner."

Serhiy Sobolev (Ukraine)  

Serhiy Sobolev (Ukraine)

"If the Council of Europe does not adopt this definition, that will be the start of a very dangerous process that began in the 1930s in Germany and the Soviet Union, when millions of people were killed because of their ideological or other point of view."

Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland)  

Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland)

"I am speaking as a scholar rather than as a politician. It is difficult to get everyone's agreement on any definition in the social sciences. The definition of "political prisoner" seems, to some extent at least, to belong to a political category – it is delicate or even "tricky", as the Americans would say."

Lise Christoffersen (Norway)  

Lise Christoffersen (Norway)

"I find it useful to ask two questions – who gains, and who loses? We need to consider who gains from casting doubt on and getting rid of our 10-year-old agreement on the criteria defining a political prisoner, and who loses. The answer is obvious, is it not?"

Pedro Agramunt (Spain)  

Pedro Agramunt (Spain)

"I agree with the other speakers who have said that this matter has been dealt with over-hastily by the Assembly."

Showdown in Strasbourg. The Political Prisoner Debate

  1. Setting
  2. Background to the Showdown in Strasbourg
  3. Christoph Straesser (Germany)
  4. Pietro Marcenario (Italy)
  5. Mailis Reps (Estonia)
  6. Elena Nikolayeva (Russia)
  7. Tiny Kox (Netherlands)
  8. Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey)
  9. Marina Schuster (Germany)
  10. Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Germany)
  11. Andres Herkel (Estonia)
  12. Mike Hancock (UK)
  13. Leonid Slutsky (Russia)
  14. Serhiy Sobolev (Ukraine)
  15. Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland)
  16. Lise Christoffersen (Norway)
  17. Pedro Agramunt (Spain)
  18. Christoph Straesser (Germany)
  19. Mailis Reps (Estonia)
  20. Agustin Conde Bajen (Spain)
  21. Christoph Straesser (Germany)
  22. Who voted with Azerbaijan?
  23. Which countries voted with Azerbaijan?
  24. Who voted with Christoph Straesser?
  25. Which countries voted with Straesser?
  26. Original sources and background documents

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17 October 2012, 00:00