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On 15 November 2016, Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Zakir Garalov has submitted a proposal to Milli Majlis (Parliament) on amending Article 323.1 (smearing or humiliating the honour and dignity of the head of the Azerbaijani state – the President of the Azerbaijan Republic – in public statement, publicly shown product or mass media) of the Criminal Code. According to the proposal, an attempt to smear or humiliate the honour and dignity of the head of the state – the President – online in Azerbaijan will entail criminal responsibility.
According to the bill, the words “or mass media” in this Article are to be replaced with “mass media or the internet information resource if demonstrated publicly.”
The currently penalties for breaching this provision are a fine of 500 to 1000 AZN, corrective labour or imprisonment for up to two years.
It was also proposed to add Article 323.1-1 to the law. The text of the proposed article reads as follows: “The actions specified in Article 323.1, if committed publicly on the internet information recourse by using fake user names, profiles or accounts, shall be punishable by a fine of 1000 to 1500 AZN or imprisonment for up to three years.”
Zakir Garalov’s proposal discussed on 16 November at a meeting of the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Policy and State Building. The bill was recommended for the plenary session of the Parliament.