The harsh ten-year sentences handed down by a court in Azerbaijan to young political activists Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammedov, along with allegations of ill-treatment during their detention, are particularly worrying. The European Union has been following their cases closely and was present at both their trials, including the latter's hearing yesterday in Baku.
Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov, who were not previously convicted of any crimes, were arrested the day after an act of political graffiti, which both have admitted. They continue to deny the drug-related charges for which they have now been sentenced.
The European Union expects the authorities in Azerbaijan to review these cases in a fair and transparent manner, in full respect of the country's international commitments. Allegations of ill-treatment or torture must be thoroughly, independently and effectively investigated.