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U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD BRIEFING ON AZERBAIJAN

WASHINGTON – The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) today announced the following briefing:

Troubled Partner: Growing Authoritarianism in Azerbaijan

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2:00 p.m.

Capitol Visitor Center, Senate Room 201-00

The United States and Azerbaijan have many shared interests and cooperate on many issues, including energy and regional security.  There is growing concern, however, about the current political situation in Azerbaijan.  Trends include reported intimidation, arrests, and use of force against journalists and human rights activists; tough new NGO registration requirements; legal restrictions on the Internet, including criminalizing online “libel” and “abuse”; restrictions on freedom of assembly, forceful dispersion of unsanctioned protests, detention of demonstrators; and unfair administration of justice, including arbitrary arrest and detention, politically motivated imprisonment, lack of due process, lengthy pre-trial detention, and executive interference in the judiciary.

Azerbaijan will hold a presidential election in October of this year.  This briefing is an opportunity to discuss current events in Azerbaijan and the prospects for a free and fair election.

The following witnesses are scheduled to participate:

Mr. Thomas Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Mr. Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States

Dr. Samad Seyidov, Chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee, National Assembly of Azerbaijan

Mr. Eldar Namavoz, Leader of the “EL” Movement, Head of the Executive Office of the National Council of Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan

Mr. Erkin Gadirli, Chairman of the Assembly, Republican Alternative (ReAl)

Dr. Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy

This event is open to the public. Room SVC 201-00 is located on the Senate side of the Capitol Visitor Center. You may enter on the north side, below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues (across the street from the Supreme Court). The closest metro stop is Capitol South (orange or blue line).

Please allow adequate time to clear through the security check. On the lower level, visitors will need to show a picture ID at the Senate appointment desk before proceeding to the Senate rooms.

Map of the Capitol:

http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/visit/us_capitol_map/index.html

Map of the Visitor Center:

http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/visit/visitor_center_map/index.html

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