17 Nov 2020 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 19 Jun 2019 n° 75/2019 Azerbaijan
Journalist Polad Aslanov Arrested, Jailed and Charged with High Treason
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On 14 June 2019, the Sabail district court in Baku ordered Polad Aslanov, chief editor of independent news websites Xeberman and Press-az, to remain in detention for four months pending an investigation on charges of high treason following his arrest on 12 June 2019, according to his lawyer, Elchin Sadygov. If found guilty, he could be jailed for life, in accordance with Article 274 of the Azerbaijani criminal code. Azerbaijani authorities had arrested Aslanov with his wife and daughter at a border crossing on 12 June, when he attempted to enter Iran to attend a friend's wedding, according to the regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel. The following day, the state security service had issued a statement accusing Aslanov of conspiring to sell secret information to foreign governments and publishing anti-government statements online. His wife and daughter were released after being briefly detained, and authorities had confiscated Aslanov's camera, computer and phone, according to Kavkazsky Uzel. Sadygov said Aslanov denied the charges and believed they were in retaliation for the his criticism of public officials and laws. Sadygov also said the journalist was preparing to publish an investigation into alleged corruption in the tourism sector involving high-ranking government officials before his arrest.
17 Nov 2020
On 16 November 2020, the Serious Crimes Court in Baku sentenced Polad Aslanov to 16 years in jail on the charge of high treason. According to the journalist’s wife, he plans to appeal the verdict.
02 Nov 2020
On 23 October 2020, the state prosecutor requested 17 years in prison for Polad Aslanov, accused of high treason.
04 Nov 2019
On 14 October 2019, the Baku Court of Appeal dismissed a complaint filed by Polad Aslanov against the extension of his detention period, which was prolonged for another 4 months on 5 October. Aslanov consequently went on hunger strike to protest this decision and the criminal prosecution as a whole. He stopped on 10 October due to a sharp deterioration in health.
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.
Journalists in detention