Law 19:12 15/08/2013

Man arrested in Azerbaijan for posting criticism in Facebook

The court of Astara region in Azerbaijan sentenced the resident of the same region, Mikayil Talibov to correctional labor for a year with retention of 20% salary, reports Azerbaijani news agency Turan.

“The verdict of Astara regional court became the first case of implementation of the recent legislative amendments, which imply criminal punishment for libel and insult in the Internet,” writes the agency.

The article reads that the Media Rights Institute (MRI) strongly condemns the harsh verdict related to the freedom of expression in Internet discussions. “The verdict is alien to democratic principles, contradicts the Constitution, which provides the freedom of expression,” reads the MRI announcement.

According to Turan, the reason for Talibov’s sentence was the criticism against AccessBank, where he used to work. He considered the termination of his contract illegal and created a Facebook page called “Accessbank- Haqsızbank” (“Accessbank-Unfair bank”).

The bank sued Talibov in its turn, the court acknowledged the phrases “Accessbank-Unfair bank,” “Money earned in Azerbaijan is against Azerbaijan,” “Accessbank builds up political pressure on Azerbaijan, fosters discontent among the population,” “the bank takes 5000 manat bribe for 50 000 manat loan” as libel.

The court forced Talibov to post rebuttal in Facebook social network. “IPM views the verdict as a serious threat to the freedom of expression in the Internet and calls on the government of Azerbaijan to pass a law cancelling the criminal penalty for defamation,” reads the article.

Turan reminds that the representatives of the government and parliament claimed during the parliamentary discussions of the given document that the penalties won’t be implied to expressions in social networks, they’ll only cover online media.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a bill in June, which referred to the amendments by the parliament of the state to the Criminal code on May 14. The amendments expanded the criminal penalties to the expressions in the Internet as well. The given decision of the President of Azerbaijan was condemned by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Nils Muižnieks and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović.



Source Panorama.am
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