Azerbaijan has published its traditional Novruz pardon list, which this year sees pardons for 148 prisoners. The UK has previously called for the release of a number of prisoners on this list, including opposition politician Tofig Yagublu, and human rights activists Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mammadli.
Commenting on the pardons, Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said:
I welcome yesterday’s announcement of the release of a number of prisoners in Azerbaijan whose convictions we deem to have been politically motivated. This is a positive development. I encourage the Government of Azerbaijan to build on this important step by considering further measures to improve its human rights and democracy record. The United Kingdom stands ready to work in partnership with Azerbaijan on these issues.
Other prominent members of Azerbaijani civil society remain imprisoned. These include journalist Khadija Ismayilova, human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev, and opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov.