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OSCEAnar Mammadli, head of the Azerbaijan-based Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre. (European Partnership: Civil Society Forum) VIENNA, 17 December 2013 – Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today expressed concern about recent reports of the arrest of Anar Mammadli, chairperson of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDSC) in Azerbaijan, on grounds of alleged illegal entrepreneurship.
Noting that EMDSC is an established and professional citizen election observation group, Lenarčič said “the reported arrest of Anar Mammadli is disturbing as it endangers citizen election observation, the role of which in ensuring the integrity of electoral processes has been recognized by all OSCE participating States, including the Republic of Azerbaijan”.
EMDSC was created as the successor of the Election Monitoring Center, which had been deregistered as a non-governmental organization on 14 May 2008 by a district court at the request of the Ministry of Justice. An appeal of this case is currently pending before the European Court for Human Rights. Since 2008, EMDSC has faced challenges with registration, affecting their activities during the 9 October presidential election this year.
“We have raised our concerns with the authorities and requested clarification on this matter,”  Lenarčič added. “We will continue to follow this situation closely and hope this matter will be addressed in line with Azerbaijan’s OSCE human dimension commitments.”
Lenarčič is in Vienna for the Human Dimension Committee meeting.

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