Azerbaijan changed its delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. MPs Elkhan Suleymanov, Muslum Mammadov and Elshan Musayev have been removed from the delegation. Instead, Ulviyya Agayeva, Elshad Hasanov and Asim Mollazada will take their place. Meydan TV spoke to Mollazada, who confirmed these changes.
It is, however, not yet clear who made the decision to replace the delegates, or based on which procedural regulations this happened.
The Azerbaijani PACE delegation is now composed of the following people:
Samad Seyidov (chairman), Elshan Hasanov, Ulviyya Agayeva, Asim Mollazada, Ganira Pashayeva, Fazil Mustafa, Sabir Hajiyev, Sahiba Gafarova, Sevinj Fataliyeva, Rafael Huseynov, Rovshan Rzayev and Vusal Huseynov.
Human rights activist Rasul Jafarov commented on this change on his Facebook page, explaining that both PACE delegates Elkhan Suleymanov and Muslum Mammadov are accused of corruption, including of paying bribes to European MPs.
“This proves once again that the accusations made are serious enough, and that the independent investigation group currently operating within the Council of Europe seriously investigated these people, together with MPs from other countries whose names have been mentioned in connection with corruption. Given the resignations and expulsions that took place last year, PACE has been cleared of corrupt members considerably. However, this process is certainly not over yet.”
Jafarov recalled that the European Stability Initiative published a new study on this issue in the end of December 2017:
“The study says that a group of MPs whose names are mentioned in connection with corruption – including the well-known Agramunt, Destexhe, Karin Strenz, and Elkhan Suleymanov – were involved in the adoption of the vague declaration in 2015 against the Macedonian opposition (which is now in power), and in the election of an official from the Macedonian prosecutor’s office as ECHR judge, instead of an independent candidate.”
In December 2016, the European Stability Initiative had published its report “The European Swamp (Caviar Diplomacy).” It reveals corruption schemes that involve members of the Azerbaijani National Assemble and senior European politicians, and also accuses Elkhan Suleymanon and Muslum Mammadov of bribing other PACE members.