Journalist Nijat Aliyev Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail in Baku

Update: 07 Apr 2016 State replied
Year 01 Apr 2015 Country Azerbaijan Category Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
01 Apr 2015 Azerbaijan Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 1

Nijat Aliyev is the chief editor of the independent news website Azadxeber. He was arrested on 20 May 2012 in Baku while he was distributing CDs containing information on house demolitions in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and some other controversial issues. The Azeri police claimed that they found marijuana in his pockets. The authorities extended several times his detention. Aliyev's lawyer said that investigators tortured the journalist in custody and put him under pressure to admit possession of drugs. In January 2013, police filed additional charges of “illegal import and sale of religious literature, calling for the overthrow of the constitutional regime and incitement to ethnic and religious hatred.” On 9 December 2013, the Baku Grave Crime Court sentenced the journalist to ten years in prison. In June 2014, Azerbaijan's Court of Appeals rejected Aliyev's appeal. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

07 Apr 2016 : On 7 April 2016 the Supreme Court dismissed Nijat Aliyev`s cassation appeal.

State replies

01 Jun 2015 : Reply by the Government of Azerbaijan

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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