Nils Muižnieks. Photo http://www.coe.int/tr/web/media-freedom/-/commissioner-for-human-rights-concerned-about-recent-developments-affecting-the-right-to-freedom-of-expression-in-turkey

18 May 2017, 09:17

CE Commissioner calls on to release people sentenced for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, the sentence of a number of activists indicates the problems with human rights in the country, including restriction of freedom of expression, reduction of space for NGOs and official persecution of human rights defenders. This was stated by Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CE).

"Today marks four years passed since the arrest of Ilkin Rustamzade, a blogger and an activist... He was arrested on the charge of disorderly conduct because of his alleged involvement in the flash mob of Harlem Shak in Baku. Recently, there were concerns about his health state," states Nils Muižnieks in his report.

The CE Commissioner for Human Rights also notes that "in several days, there will be the 3rd anniversary of the pronouncement by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) of the verdict in the case 'Ilgar Mamedov vs. Azerbaijan'."

In his statement, Nils Muižnieks has also reported on activists Bairam Mamedov and Giyas Ibragimov, who last year were sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment on the charges of possession of drugs. In May 2016, they were arrested after spraying graffiti on the monument to the former President of Azerbaijan.

The CE Commissioner has also mentioned the arrest of well-known blogger Mekhman Guseinov, the chairman of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS), detained on March 3. During the recent years, that was the first case of a charge of defamation. Mekhman Guseinov was sentenced to two years of imprisonment after he had filed a complaint about ill-treatment at the police.

Samir Kazymly, the leader of the Alliance for the Protection of Political Freedoms, believes that "the report of the CE Commissioner is of great importance for the sentenced people."

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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