TODAY.AZ / Politics

Freedom House rates Azerbaijan as "not free"

07 September 2006 [21:01] - TODAY.AZ
The U.S.-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Freedom House has issued its annual compilation of the world's most dictatorial nations.

The South Caucasus nations of Georgia and Armenia fared slightly better, both maintaining ratings of "partly free."

Azerbaijan, however, was penalized, receiving a rating of "not free." Evenson says the rating is due in part to the country's November 2005 parliamentary elections, which came under widespread criticism as flawed by ballot stuffing and other procedural violations.

"The score of Azerbaijan is a consistent score from years past where we don't see a lot of political reform efforts that happened during the time of the report," Evenson says. "What we do see is a questionable election process, judicial processes that don't appear to be fair, and freedom-of-assembly issues clearly have been of concern in Azerbaijan." RFE/RL


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