The ECHR has recognized the illegal blocking of 4 websites in Azerbaijan

Today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)  announced the decision in the case of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and others against Azerbaijan. Applications were submitted in connection with the blocking of 4 websites in Azerbaijan – azadliq.org , anaxeber.az , az24saat.org and xural.com , according to the legal information website aihmaz.org . The applicants, in particular, were Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty”  (azadliq.org ), Azer Talibov (founder and editor-in-chief of the website (anaxeber.az ), Vugar Alekperov (founder of the site az24saat.org ) and Avaz Zeynalli (founder of the site xural.com ).

Access to these sites in Azerbaijan was blocked in 2017-2018 in accordance with the amendments to the law “On Information, Informatization and Information Protection” and the Code of Administrative Misconduct. Local courts justified these decisions and changes in legislation.

The applicants also pointed out that blocking not specific materials, but websites completely became an extremely serious measure.  In their opinion, the real reason for the block was not to prevent any illegal content, but to suppress criticism of the government.

The applicants raised issues of violation of articles 6 (right to a fair trial), 10 (freedom of expression), 13 (Right to an effective remedy) and 18 (Limits on the use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms before the ECHR.

The ECHR decided to pay 5 thousand euros to each of the applicants as compensation for moral damage. Three applicants (anaxeber.az , az24saat.org and xural.com ) another 1,000 euros will be paid for court costs.
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