COMPLAINT OF 15 JOURNALISTS SENT TO EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

June 10th, 2009
One more appeal has been sent to the European Court of Human Rights, according to a press release the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety received from Media Rights Institute.

Fifteen Azeri journalists; Ganimat Zahid, Azer Ahmedov, Fikrat Huseynli, Shahvalad Namazov, Samir Kazimli, Gabil Abdullayev (Zimistaboglu), Natig Javadli, Elshan Mammadaliyev (Balakhanli), Jeyhun Mammadov, Uzeyir Jafarov, Baheddin Haziyev, Shahbaz Aliyev (Khuduoglu), Sarvan Rizvanov, Yashar Agazade and Rovshan Kebirli; claim that there rights and freedoms envisaged in Azerbaijani legislation and European Convention have been violated. Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili, Media Rights Institute lawyers Khalid Agaliyev and Elchin Sadigov are defending the journalists’ rights.
It is noted in the appeal sent to ECHR that when adopting decisions on the lawsuits, local courts violated the rights and freedoms of journalists. In addition it is alleged that articles 6 (right to a fair trial), 10 (freedom of expression), 11 (freedom of assembly and association), 3 (prohibition on torture) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) were violated. The plaintiffs are seeking to have ECHR acknowledge the violation of these rights, cover legal costs stemming from this case and to pay compensation for moral and material damages that resulted from the violation of the abovementioned rights.
On 17 April 2007 and 15 May 2007 the plaintiffs attempted to conduct protests calling for an end to pressure on the mass media and journalists in Azerbaijan, however police thwarted the protests and used force against the plaintiffs. Therefore, the journalists filed lawsuits against the Baku City Executive Administration, Baku City Head Police Department and Sabail District Police Department. The Sabail District Court twice issued a decision not to accept the case for consideration. The Supreme Court annulled this decision, however the District issued a decision not to fulfill the plaintiff’s lawsuit.