The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) is concerned about the imprisonment of three more journalists under defamation charges of the CC of Azerbaijan Republic and strongly condemn it.
On 22 July 2009 – the National Press Day, the Nizami District Court issued a verdict to sentence “Nota” Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Substitute Sardar Alibeyli (Aliyev) and “Nota” Newspaper employee Faramaz Novruzoglu (Allahverdiyev) under Article 148 (insult) and 147.2 (accusing someone of grave crimes or especially grave crimes). According to the verdict, the journalists were sentenced to three months imprisonment. The verdict did not come into force at that time, and the journalists filed an appeal against the verdict. However, the Appellate Court rejected the appeal and directed the verdict of the first instance court to be fulfilled. The journalists were handcuffed in the court hall and sent to prison right away. Another correspondent of the newspaper Ramiz Tagiyev was sentenced to six months conditional imprisonment.
“Azadlig Haraktchilari Birliyi” Union Chairman T.Novruzov filed a special lawsuit against the three writers under articles 147.2 and 148 of the Criminal Code due to the article “Apology article for Tahmasib Novruzov whose honor is stepped on and whose dignity is degraded,” which was published in the April 05-11 2009 edition of the newspaper.
IRFS urges Azerbaijan’s government to end the persecution against the journalists under defamation charges and decriminalize defamation. IRFS calls on Azerbaijan’s government to immediately release all other journalists imprisoned on spurious and under defamation charges.