BRUSSELS – European lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the unconditional release of jailed Azerbaijani anticorruption blogger Mehman Huseynov.
The resolution, which was backed on January 17 by all major political parties in the European Parliament, urges Baku to drop all new charges against Huseynov.
It also expresses “concern over his health for which the authorities must provide all the necessary professional medical assistance and allow regular access for his family and privileged legal counsel.”
The nonbinding resolution calls on other EU institutions to ensure that the release of Huseynov and other political prisoners in Azerbaijan “remains a priority in EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations.”
The text also includes a call on Azerbaijan to fully guarantee freedoms of the media and expression.
Calls for Huseynov's release have intensified inside and outside Azerbaijan since he was targeted with a new charge late last month, just weeks before his expected release from prison.
He is accused of "resisting a representative of the authorities with the use of violence dangerous to [the representative's] health and life."
Huseynov, as well as a number of activists and political prisoners, have started hunger strikes in protest.
Huseynov is already serving a two-year prison term on libel charges that he and his supporters consider to be politically motivated.
The blogger’s lawyer said Huseynov could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the new charge.