PACE supposes that Baku has tried to bribe the delegates in an attempt to have its interests lobbied in the organization
The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) has announced sanctions against its own vice-president Samad Seyidov, the Head of the delegation of Azerbaijan to PACE. The reason – involvement in the corruption scandal revealed by the PACE about a month ago.
The report says that Baku tried to bribe assembly members to get them to lobby its interests in the organization.
The ex-president of PACE Pedro Agramunt and the former speaker of Ukraine Jordi Xuclà (both being representatives of Spain,) as well as Cesar Preda, also fell under the sanctions. All of them were accused of a serious violation of the Code of Conduct and were deprived of all the rights of the PACE members, except the right to vote and the right to initiate resolutions.
In April 2018, a 198-page report of an independent investigation team has been published, which referred to “corruption acts in the interests of Azerbaijan.” Among the current delegates, in addition to those mentioned above, Stephen Schönnach, representative of Austria, also features in the report. On April 22, the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has asked the delegates who are mentioned in the report to abstain from participation in the work of the assembly.
- make reports and observe elections
- to hold the post of president or vice-president of the assembly, or chairman of the PACE committee or subcommittee
- represent the assembly or its committees at events
- send requests to the Council of Europe’s executive body
Samad Seyidov said at a briefing in Baku that the sanctions were an attempt to apply pressure on Azerbaijan.
“We have repeatedly witnessed double standards in relation to Azerbaijan in this organization. Therefore, the decision on sanctions has no grounds and is clearly biased,” the parliamentarian said.
Sanctions against Agramunt have been introduced for 10 years, while sanctions against Shukly, Cesar Florin Preda and Samad Seyidov – for two years.
Vladimir Ariev, the PACE Vice-President and a member of the Ukrainian delegation, wrote on his Facebook page that “The committee has agreed with the need to punish delegates, although legally their guilt has not been yet proven.”
“The decision of the Committee on the Procedural Rules of the PACE is important for the improvement of the situation in the assembly, where bribery in favour of the authorities of individual post-Soviet states, including Azerbaijan, has been widespread in the past seven to eight years.” The Council of Europe is not a punitive body, and in this case, it is about the political and moral responsibility of those involved in the scandal,” Anar Mammadli told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent.