While the world has been preparing to celebrate the New Year, the Azerbaijani authorities have launched a new offensive against the country’s few remaining critical journalists. Reporters Without Borders calls on the international community to end the impunity enjoyed by President Ilham Aliyev’s regime.
Did the Azerbaijani authorities think the rest of the world would be too distracted to notice? Just days after ordering the well-known investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova to pay an astronomical sum in bogus overdue taxes, they have brought new charges against the jailed blogger Mehman Huseynov and have put website editor Anar Mammadov on trial.
Due to be released in March, Huseynov is now facing the possibility of an additional seven-year sentence on a charge of “using violence to resist a person in authority.” The prison authorities claim that he attacked a prison guard in an attempt to avoid a routine check on 26 December. After they ordered him placed in isolation for ten days without letting him see his lawyer, he began a hunger strike in protest against what he says is a trumped-up charge.
The two journalists are being prosecuted for accusing the authorities of “culpable negligence” in connection with an attempt to murder the mayor of the western city of Ganja in July. Both websites were immediately blocked and several of their employees were briefly detained.
Further details and source: RSF.org