Azerbaijani Director of Internet Television Re-arrested

Update: 18 Dec 2017 No state reply yet
Year 30 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
30 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1
No state reply yet

Aziz Orujov, director of internet television Kanal 13, was re-arrested on 1 June 2017 in Azerbaijan. On 2 May he was found guilty by court of committing an administrative offence - disobedience to a lawful order by police officer - and sentenced for 30 days. On 1 June, two hours before his expected release, he was taken to the Serious Crimes Investigation Department, then charged with illegal entrepreneurship with large income and abuse of official power. The judge has ordered the journalist's pre-trial detention for four months. After Ojurov's arrest, searches have been conducted in his apartment and in the office of Kanal 13. Computers, electronic carriers and documents were confiscated. Orujov's wife said that she is concerned about Ojurov's health because he suffers from chronic diseases. Media reported that the case against Ojurov is connected with his professional activities. Kanal 13 produces programmes on social and economic topics, presenting, among other things, positions of independent experts and opposition politicians. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

18 Dec 2017 : On 15 December 2017 the Baku Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Aziz Orujov to 6 years for illegal business and misappropriation of funds.

Follow-ups

18 Dec 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Azerbaijan authorities to end restrictive measures detrimental to journalists’ freedom and safety

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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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