Azerbaijan

Pressure against independent observers, candidates and journalists during and since elections

Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) issued a press-release on the physical, psychological and political pressure put on independent observers, candidates, their representatives and journalists since the 9 February early Parliamentary Elections.

EMDS notes with regret that observers faced various cases of pressure during the voting and counting processes across the country on Election Day. Currently, individual complaints are on their way to be submitted to the Central Election Commission. Overall, 12 such cases have been submitted.

According to the information received by the EMDS, the Central Election Commission demands that claimants submit original documentation concerning the incident rather than copies of documents as grounds to their claims, which creates  additional obstacles for the claimants. Submitting the original copy of the documents may prohibit the claimant from pursuing further legal action in the future concerning this incident. Especially, if the candidates submit the originals of the documents to the CEC or mail these to the office of the CEC, where the documents may get lost. This may automatically deny claimants the second chance to file a complaint again without any supporting documentation of the incident.

The European Court of Human Rights has also criticized this procedure and noted that local authorities must ask for a copy but not for the original of a document since it is not important whether the submitted document is an original or a copy in order to investigate a case. EMDS believes that this step by the CEC will be another blow to the effective investigation of election complaints.

The full press statement can be found here

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