ESI's Gerald Knaus participated in the awarding ceremony of the Sakharov Freedom Award 2014 organized by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in Oslo. This year's prize was awarded to political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The authorities in oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan have for years brutally silenced their critics by accusing them of fictive crimes and then sentencing them to lengthy prison terms. More than 90 political prisoners have been identified in the country by local human rights activists, by applying the Council of Europe's criteria. Among these prisoners, we find some of the most knowledgeable, experienced and vocal human rights defenders, journalists, youth activists and opposition politicians. Civil society in Azerbaijan is being crushed.
On 12 September Gerald spoke at a public seminar discussing the grim facts of imprisonment on political grounds in Azerbaijan, a vision for a Europe without political prisoners and possible responses.
Welcome. Bjřrn Engesland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The end of shame? Azerbaijan, the Council of Europe and the capture of Europe. Gerald Knaus, Director of the European Stability Initiative, Germany. Author of 'Caviar Diplomacy', about the activities of the Council of Europe Parliamentary assembly (PACE).
The Ilham Aliyev regime and the powers that made it possible. Leyla Alieva, director of the National and International Studies Center, Georgia/Azerbaijan.
Soviet Union - Council of Europe - Soviet Union 2.0 - all in one life Emin Milli, editor Maydan TV (in exile) served a 2.5 years sentence for blog posts critical of the government of Azerbaijan.
Panel discussion: Why are we so inefficient in countering the wave of arrests in Azerbaijan and what can be done?
- Geir Jřrgen Bekkevold, Norwegian MP (KrF), head of OSCE/PA delegation
- Steinar Gil, Former Norwegian Ambassador to Azerbaijan
- Vugar Gojayev, Expert
- Berit Lindeman, Head of information, Norwegian Helsinki Committee (moderator)
- Standing up for European values
- Media reactions: The Council of Europe and political prisoners
- THE LIST – 98 political prisoners in Azerbaijan – August 2014. Cases studied by the Working Group led by Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov
- ESI Briefing: The jails of Azerbaijan – A chronology of recent repression by the chairman of the Council of Europe (May to August 2014)
- ESI newsletter: Moscow Appeal – The case for Leyla Yunus (2 October 2014)
- Rumeli Observer: What the 2014 Havel Prize says about the Council of Europe – and what should happen now (29 September 2014)
- ESI newsletter: Andrei Sakharov and the defence of the unjustly persecuted (23 September 2014)
- ESI newsletter: The LIST and arrests in Baku – Sakharov prize 2014 – Black Sea in Budapest – Capacity building in Kosovo (4 September 2014)
- ESI conference in Berlin on 2/3 June: "Towards a Europe without political prisoners". Video clips from the conference: Emin Milli, Khadija Ismayilova, Bill Browder, and others
- Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland publishes op-ed: "Council of Europe is not blind to Azerbaijan's rights violations" (22 May 2014)
- ESI op-ed on Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: Politische Gefangene? Hier doch nicht! – (Political Prisoners? Certainly not here!) (18 May 2014)
- ESI newsletter: Oslo abuse debate – Mr Jagland goes to Baku – June 2 Berlin event – a tradition of dissent (19 May 2014)
- ESI at conference in Oslo: Safeguarding international institutions against authoritarian abuse (13 May 2014)
- ESI newsletter: Hunger strike, European values and an Open Letter (23 April 2014)
- Open letter to 125 current and former members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (April 2014). Translations of the open letter are available in: Azeri, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish