12 Dec 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 22 Jun 2017 n° 66/2017 Azerbaijan

Fikret Faramazoglu, Azerbaijani Chief Editor of News Website Sentenced to Seven Years on Extortion Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ Index
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Partner CPJ Index
Fikret Faramazoglu, chief editor of the news website Journalistic Research Center, was sentenced on June 14, 2017 to seven years in prison on extortion charges. The judge also ruled to ban Faramazoglu from working as a journalist for two years after serving his prison term. Faramazoglu and his lawyer told the court the journalist was severely beaten in detention and lost several teeth as a result.

Faramazoglu was first detained on June 30, 2016 for allegedly receiving a large amount of money from a restaurant owner whom authorities claimed the journalist extorted. The journalist and his lawyer say the money was planted in his pocket. Faramazoglu also told the court he and his family were on a trip when the first incident of alleged extortion took place and requested that he be allowed to call witnesses. The judge denied his request. The judge also dismissed Faramazoglu's request for authorities to investigate the beating, according to reports.

The journalist's lawyer, Elchin Sadygov, told CPJ that the arrest came soon after Faramazoglu reported that restaurants were allegedly operating as brothels under the protection of law-enforcement agencies. Sadygov told media following the Baku court's verdict that he thinks the case was retaliation for Faramazoglu's reporting. Sadygov said Faramazoglu will appeal the verdict.

In 2006 Faramazoglu, then chief editor of the Baku-based opposition weekly 24 Saat, was found guilty of libel and sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term, which was considered by media freedom organisations as a retaliation for his articles on alleged corruption in Azerbaijani law enforcement.
18 Mar 2019
On 17 March 2019, journalist Fikret Faramazoglu was released, following presidential pardon.
26 Sep 2018
On 26 September 2018, the Supreme Court considered Faramazoglu’s cassation appeal and partially mitigated the sentence by reducing it from 7 to 6 years.
28 Sep 2017
On 18 September 2017, the Baku Appeals Court upheld the verdict.
12 Dec 2019
In her report following her visit to Azerbaijan from 8 to 12 July 2019, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights regrets that no progress has been made regarding the protection of freedom of expression and calls on the authorities to release all those detained because of the views they expressed, notably journalists.
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