Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the seven-year jail term given to an opposition politician—Ilgar Mammadov—in Azerbaijan, ostensibly on public disorder charges, concluding that the real reason for his arrest had been his blog entries criticising the government.

It comes just a week after that same country assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Council of Europe—the parent body of the European Court of Human Rights—rather unconvincingly naming its priorities as improving access to rights for vulnerable groups and tackling corruption, among other things.

The Council of Europe was set up in the aftermath of the Second World…

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