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European Rights Court Says Azerbaijan Violated Election Rights

The European court awarded Flora Karimova $80,000 in damages over officials' annulment of her election victory.
BAKU -- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the Azerbaijani government is guilty of having violated citizens' right to a free and fair election during parliamentary elections five years ago, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The Strasbourg-based ECHR cited the case of pop singer Flora Karimova, who ran for parliament in November 2005 as a candidate of the opposition Azadliq (Liberty) bloc. She received the largest number of votes but the Central Election Commission annulled the results in her constituency.

The ECHR on September 30 found that decision arbitrary and unlawful and ordered the Azerbaijani government to pay Karimova 59,000 euros ($80,376) in damages.

Karimova, who welcomed the decision of the court, said she has been preparing documents for more appeals.

"It will not be my last appeal to the European Court of Human Rights," she told RFE/RL. "I have other cases in which Azerbaijani courts handed down unlawful verdicts."