The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Swiss election observer still not allowed to visit Azerbaijan

Election observer and National Councillor Nik Gugger (EPP/ZH) is still not allowed to travel to Azerbaijan for the elections. The Caucasus country's ambassador to Switzerland was unable to arrange entry for him, Gugger announced on Wednesday in response to an inquiry.

As a result, Gugger was also unable to travel to the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Wednesday. However, Gugger told the Keystone-SDA news agency that his offer to report on the evaluation of the election results on site on Friday still stands.

Gugger had travelled to Azerbaijan at the weekend as an official and accredited election observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and was supposed to report on the early presidential elections taking place on Wednesday. The polls are due to close at 16:00 (CET) on Wednesday.

As soon as he landed in the capital Baku, Gugger was stopped by the police at the diplomatic entrance. They confiscated his passport and refused him entry. Other OSCE observers were allowed through without any problems, including the Swiss delegation.

The police detained the National Council member for almost three hours at Baku airport and then put him on a plane to Istanbul. He was only given his passport back in Turkey. He returned to Switzerland last Saturday.

FDFA summons ambassador

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) summoned the Azerbaijani ambassador to Bern last Monday to discuss the matter. On this occasion, the FDFA expressed Switzerland's displeasure at the unacceptable treatment of Gugger, the department announced.

Last Sunday, Gugger assumed that the whole thing had to do with his work as a member of the Council of Europe, as he told the Keystone-SDA news agency when asked. This was confirmed on Monday in a conversation with the Azerbaijani ambassador.

©Keystone/SDA

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