OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT CRITICIZED BY DEPUTIES

March 5th, 2008
Yesterday, during a session of the Milli Mejlis, Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova presented her annual report.

Suleymanova touched issues such as the situation of speech freedom in Azerbaijan. She stated that the government has already done some work in this area. According to "Bizim Yol" newspaper, the Ombudsman said she was familiar with the situation of prisons where journalists are kept, but did not specifically mention the arrests of Eynulla Fatullayev, Ganimat Zahidov and other journalists. She said, "Due to the appeals we have received, we have met with the imprisoned journalists. They didn't complain about torture or the conditions in the prisons."  She also mentioned that some journalists were arrested for activities other than professional ethics.
 Deputy Ali Masimli expressed his position on the report and suggested that the Ombudsman put forth an initiative for the release of the imprisoned journalists. Deputy Jamil Hasanli supported this suggestion. Then Deputy Igbal Agazade talked about imprisoned journalists and said, "The Ombudsman shouldn't think her mission is over just because she visited the prisons and prisoners. Why isn't the Ombudsman taking any measures with regards to the imprisoned journalists and why doesn't she raise the issue in front of relevant organizations?"