EUROPEAN COURT HEARS JOURNALISTS’ APPEAL AS A PRIORITY CASE

May 5th, 2011
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) opened the procedures regarding the  complaint lodged by a group of journalists – Rauf Abbasov, Azer Abbasov, Etibar Agayev, Elshad Mammadli, Zabil Mugabioglu, Ganimat Zahidov, Shahvalad Chobanoglu, and Mehman Aliyev for the the physical assault by police when they attempted to hold a picket in Sabir Park on June 12, 2007, where they called for an end to pressures on media, Media Rights Institute Head Rashid Hajili reported to Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety (IRFS) today.

Rashid Hajili noted that European Court has already sent  an inquiry to Azerbaijani government as well as to the group.
 “We have already answered the inquiry and returned it to the ECHR. In case any questions arise, they will be answered and sent to the ECHR. Our comments will be sent to the government by ECHR and if the opposite side doesn’t respond to comments, a decision will be passed. No duration has been set for the consideration. The case is considered as a priority case and the process will be accelerated,” said Hajili.
BACKGROUND
A group of journalists, including Rauf Arifoglu, Azer Aykhan, Etibar Agayev, Elshad Mammadli, Zabil Mugabiloglu, Ganimat Zahid, Shahvalad Chobanoglu, and Mehman Aliyev attempted to protest against pressures against the media on June 12, 2007, Sabir Park, when they faced physical harrasment from the employees of Sabail District Police Office. Ganimat Zahid, Rauf Arifoglu,  Shahvalad Chobanoglu, Zabil Mugabiloglu were arrested. The journalists demanded that the court to launch a criminal case against the police employees who used force against the journalists, and stated that the police intervention was illegal. The journalists also demanded 10 000 AZN in compensation for the violation of their rights. Sabail District Court refused to execute the lawsuit on June 20, 2007. The Baku Appeals Court and the  Supreme Court refused to execute the lawsuit on September 18, 2007 and January 10, 2008 respectively. As a result, an appeal was sent to European Court of Human Rights.