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On 14 May 2014, Azerbaijan began its six-month term as chair for the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers – making it the guardian “of the values for which the Council of Europe exists.”
The Council of Europe is dedicated to promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and “advocates freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities.”
Since Azerbaijan assumed its chairmanship, however, a plethora of civil society organisations have noted that Azerbaijan's own track record of respecting human rights and democracy is worsening. In articles, joint statements, and through social media, they have spoken out against the arrest of prominent human rights defenders, peaceful protesters, and critical journalists.
The timeline below documents cases of detention, sentencing and imprisonment of dissidents, during the six-month period that Azerbaijan is meant to be leading the rest of Europe towards a greater respect for human rights.