If you think regime in Azerbaijan is softening on freedoms and rights issues with the amnesty of 14 political prisoners you are deeply deeply mistaken.
First of all, it is simply the old school method of putting on a veil ahead of some international event. In the past, some described this practice in Azerbaijan as "revolving door policy". One goes out, another goes in. 14 go out, I am pretty sure, the regime will soon enough find replacements for them.
Aliyev is soon to arrive in DC for a nuclear summit, so he had to do something, the man is tired of criticism and scrutiny. So what a tired dictator does when he wants to get some of the heat off? Release some prisoners, change legislation or do something else.
All of rights watchdog community said immediately after the release that this was in no way a sign of good will. It was simply something the regime did ahead of the US visit.
Second of all, Azerbaijan's record of complying with its responsibilities to international treaties ain't stellar. So it should come as no surprise that there is a draft bill at the parliament on executing international decisions on the protection of human rights and freedoms by Azerbaijan. If you are not sure what it means then think European Court of Human Rights. Then think about all of their decisions including the one about political prisoner Ilgar Mammadov, then insert this new draft and you will hopefully get the picture.
Yes... Azerbaijan has no intention of improving. In fact, it is only getting worse. So to all those enthusiasts and optimists out there- spare yourselves from another disappointment and prepare for the worse.
Oh and in case you missed the news, two journalists were told they cannot leave the country last week because they had travel bans. For what and since when they have not been told. But who cares, this is Azerbaijan, where the regime does not need any explanations.