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ICC NOTE: United States Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey made a statement in regards to Azerbaijan’s recent referendum vote that would hand more power to the long term president. Stating it would reduce accountability of the president which is in congruence to the new amendments. Power would be given to the president to create two new VP positions as well as extend his own term limits. Christians and other religious minorities are fearful of the new powers as they could be used to quell basic rights like freedom of assembly and expression. Congressman Smith has been a champion of religious freedom throughout his time in office and in December 2015 introduced legislation related to Azerbaijan advocating for the release of prisoners of conscience and democratic activists. 

9/29/2016 Azerbaijan (Contact AZ) – After the announcement of the results of the referendum on amendments to the Constitution, the head of the Helsinki Commission, Congressman Chris Smith issued a statement:

“This vote is intended to reduce the accountability of the President of Azerbaijan and” irrespective of the outcome of his latest legitimsizlik referendum was the culmination of the process. ”

Significant changes in the government by means of the vote in a hurry to free debate about these issues to the people deprived of basic reports.

Changes in planned anti-government activists and journalists have been subjected to arrests and harassment.

Just a year ago, official Baku, the OSCE’s election observers for parliamentary elections in line with OSCE commitments montorinqini blocking the vote of the people of Azerbaijan prevented, “- the statement says.

“I am very concerned that this illegitimate process goszlədikləri democratic future they deserve and to further delay the Azerbaijanis.

Once again, the Azerbaijani government to release all prisoners of conscience, punish them and their colleagues who call for the removal of the ban on the trip, “- Smith said.

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