Stop jailing journalists: Turkey and Azerbaijan must uphold Council of Europe standards

Published in Society
Thursday, 04 June 2020 13:32

Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), General Rapporteur on media freedom and the safety of journalists for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has today expressed concern over the detention of journalists, an appalling phenomenon which has been observed for many years especially in Turkey and in Azerbaijan.

The PACE recent report on “Threats to media freedom and journalists’ security in Europe” observes that Turkey is the country which has the highest number of imprisoned journalists, at present 95 according to the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. “Journalists are placed in arbitrary pre-trial arrest and detention, and are held for months, sometimes for years, before their cases come to court. Such detentions are the result of politicised targeting of journalists for their critical reporting; they are an obvious violation of freedom of expression and of journalists’ right to liberty and security”, said Mr Schennach.

Moreover, in the context of the current pandemic crisis, detention in penitentiaries constitutes an unjustified risk to health, and even to life. A recent bill proposes that approximately one third of 300,000 Turkish detainees be released, but it excludes those detained for terrorism-related offences, and therefore the majority of the 95 journalists in detention, as they are charged with or convicted of terrorism-related offences, although with no solid justification.

As for Azerbaijan – where there are currently 10 journalists in detention – several journalists are arrested on the ground of fabricated accusations. Elchin Mammad, editor in chief of the Yukselish Namine newspaper, was arrested on 30 March 2020 “for having stolen jewellery”. Since 2015, he has repeatedly been under judicial or police investigations, interrogations, house and office searches. Today, if convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

Another Azerbaijani journalist and blogger with Kanal24 Internet TV, Ibrahim Vazirov, was arrested on 13 April 2020, days after police had demanded he delete online reports about the social and economic impact of Covid-19. In previous weeks, the journalist had been producing video reports critical of the government’s quarantine measures. A similar case happened to Mirsahib Rahiloglu, a journalist with the Reportyor.info, who had published interviews with citizens expressing frustration at the lack of financial support during the lockdown. He was arrested for “violating lockdown rules” and detained for 30 days. Natig Izbatov, a journalist with online news outlet 7gun.az, was arrested as he was filming interviews with people about the economic effects of the lockdown. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail for violating lockdown rules, despite having official documents which gave him permission to work as a journalist. Moreover, he was allegedly assaulted at the police station, his telephone had been searched and footage and recordings deleted.

“The current situation in Turkey and Azerbaijan is unacceptable. In both these member States, freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, has been violated for several years. Therefore, I call on both Turkey and Azerbaijan to urgently stop these attacks on journalists, in order to uphold the standards established by the Council of Europe and stick to the values promoted by our Organisation,” the General Rapporteur concluded.

Source: https://pace.coe.int/en/news/7899/stop-jailing-journalists-turkey-and-azerbaijan-must-uphold-council-of-europe-standards-

 

Read 148 times

Related items

  • Hikmat Hajiyev: Armenia's illegal settlement policy across Azerbaijan's occupied territories is a military crime
    “Armenia is conducting a policy of illegal settlement across Azerbaijan's occupied territories and recently launched a policy of resettlement of Armenians from Lebanon there. Yesterday news of a family from Lebanon resettled in the city of Shusha – a destination of utmost historical and moral significance for Azerbaijan has been posted on social media. As the world countries, including Azerbaijan, are dealing with the issue of elimination of tragedy's consequences that befell Lebanon and offering humanitarian assistance, Armenia is exploiting this tragedy and people's hardship, pushing their sordid agenda. Thereby, Armenia has once again demonstrated that it recognizes no moral values” Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev has told AZERTAC. Hikmat Hajiyev said: “I wish to emphasize that the population resettled in our occupied territories has become victim of Armenia's reckless and adventurist policy. It must be said that the policy of illegal settlement across Azerbaijan's occupied territories has no validity, and Azerbaijan rejects its outcome categorically. Armenia is also using the people from Lebanon and Syria resettled in the occupied territories as mercenaries. Armenia aims to alter the demographic situation across Azerbaijan's occupied territories by pursuing the illegal settlement policy. The same policy is a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention of 1949. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the occupying power cannot transfer its civilian population into the territory it occupies. During the 1946 Nuremberg International Military Tribunal for the Trial of Major War Criminals, two of the defendants were convicted for changing the ethnic composition of the occupied territories. According to international law, the pursuit of illegal settlement policy by the occupying power in the occupied territories should be classified as a military crime. In this regard, Armenia's illegal settlement policy across Azerbaijan's occupied territories is a military crime. Ironically, such actions are considered a crime under Armenia's own legislation. In Article 390 of Armenia's Criminal Code, the occupying power's deportation of the local population and transfer of its people to the occupied territories is a grave violation of international humanitarian law, punishable by 8-12 years of imprisonment. Armenia's act of aggression perpetrated in the direction of Tovuz district, along the state border between the two countries this July and an attempt to carry out a subversion operation across the Line of Contact reveal that Armenia is preparing for yet another provocation and military adventurism. Moreover, in recent days, Armenia has once again begun to declare explicitly; through the puppet regime, it installed in our occupied territories its intention to occupy Azerbaijan's other areas and threatened to launch a missile strike on the city of Ganja. Inflammatory rhetoric by Armenia's Prime Minister and Defense Minister and their actions and other steps of such nature, once again confirm that the goal of the brazen Armenian leadership is to dismantle the negotiation process and secure the annexation of Azerbaijan's occupied territories. The responsibility for perpetrating provocations and escalating the situation lies with Armenia's political and military leadership. Armenia must withdraw its troops from Azerbaijan's occupied territories to achieve progress in the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The conflict must be resolved only and solely in line with Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of its internationally recognized borders.” Source: https://azertag.az/en/xeber/Hikmat_Hajiyev_Armenia_039s_illegal_settlement_policy_across_Azerbaijan_039s_occupied_territories_is_a_military_crime-1582895
  • Azerbaijan and Turkey were among the countries that supported Georgia in the UN

    On September 3, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia”. As Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia noted, this year the document had unprecedented support – has been supported by 84 member states, only 13 opposed. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili expressed her gratitude to all 84 countries that have stood next to Georgia this year.

    It is noteworthy that our neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey have once again expressed support for Georgia, joining the global call to ensure the observance of the rights of the Georgian population expelled from Abkhazia and Samachablo. With Russia's position, everything is clear. But Armenia acted in a very non-trivial way – it did not take part in the voting. It is difficult to imagine that the immediate neighbor of our country, who assures of friendship in the course of bilateral contacts, is poorly informed about the state of affairs of internally displaced persons in Georgia. However, Yerevan has avoided expressing a clear position on this issue.

  • President Ilham Aliyev: One of the issues negatively affecting Azerbaijani-Greek cooperation is related to “DESFA”

    As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today accepted credentials of the newly-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Greece Nikolaos Piperigos.

    AZERTAC publishes some excerpts from President Ilham Aliyev's remarks at the meeting.

    “I believe there have been several issues that negatively affected our cooperation. One of them is related to the Greek gas company “DESFA”. I can say that our energy company SOCAR joined the bidding for the purchase of “DESFA” at the request of the Greek government. The former Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Samaras, personally asked me for SOCAR to participate in the tender. As a result of an open tender, SOCAR made the best offer and won the right to own “DESFA”. This was also important in terms of our plans to build the Southern Gas Corridor. That was about six years ago. At that time, of course, we were simply planning to build a connection between Azerbaijan and Europe, and we thought that if Azerbaijan was to supply gas to Greece, it would be good to have a company that distributes this gas. In any case, we made an advance payment of 40 million euros, which is 10 percent of the price, and for four years – from 2014 to 2018 – the money was at the disposal of the Greek government. Unfortunately, the previous government of Greece did everything to deprive SOCAR of this right.”

    “I would like to reiterate that we originally obtained this legitimate right at the suggestion of the Greek prime minister, in an open and competitive tender, but were deprived of this legitimate right for political reasons due to the negative attitude of the previous government of Greece towards Azerbaijan. This certainly had a serious negative impact on our already low-level relations. Frankly, we then decided that if the government of Greece was treating us like that, we would have to think about how we would respond. Our response was to do virtually nothing. We did not make any demarche. We did not take any diplomatic steps.”

    “So this was a very disappointing issue and, of course, I think it had a serious impact on our relations. But, let me say again that this wasn’t done on the initiative of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has always supported the development of relations. In fact, you certainly know that TAP was not the only option for the transportation of Azerbaijani gas. There were several options for the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey. It could have been in a different direction. However, the choice of TAP was also a decision made by investors, foreign oil companies and Azerbaijan. In other words, for our part, we made a positive gesture to Greece. But after the previous government came to power – I want to emphasize this because before the former Syriza government came to power, we had very good relations with the governments of Greece.”

    Source: https://azertag.az/en/xeber/President_Ilham_Aliyev_One_of_the_issues_negatively_affecting_Azerbaijani_Greek_cooperation_is_related_to_DESFA-1575727?fbclid=IwAR0bZUNi2IyR5EyhRjp_l16NEAM9IzF4ibKGU8osJ_ifkMyXRaD8nBKanqk

  • President of Azerbaijan: Without any hesitation, we support Turkey and will support it in any circumstances

    As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today accepted credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Greece to Azerbaijan, Nikolaos Piperigos.

    AZERTAC presents some excerpts from President Ilham Aliyev's remarks at the meeting.

    “It is not Azerbaijan that has occupied the territory of Armenia – Armenia has occupied Azerbaijani territory. This is reflected in the documents of all international organizations.”

    “The last issue I want to touch upon is the recent tension between Turkey and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean region. I can tell you, and it is no secret, that Turkey is not only our friend and partner, but also a brotherly country for us. Without any hesitation whatsoever, we support Turkey and will support it in any circumstances. We see the same support from our Turkish brothers. They support Azerbaijan on all issues, and we support them on all issues, including the issue of exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

    “I want you to know our position. This position has already been officially announced by the Azerbaijani government on my instructions. I can tell you again that Turkey is not only a friend but a brotherly country for us. The Turks are our brothers. So we will be with them in all matters.”

    “I want to find something positive to touch upon, but unfortunately I can't find it. Perhaps we hope that the new government of Greece, which came to power relatively recently, will reconsider the policy of the previous government against Azerbaijan.”

    “We can restore contacts and discuss issues that create positive dynamics. But, of course, that will depend on the policy and position of the Greek government.”

    Source: https://azertag.az/en/xeber/President_of_Azerbaijan_Without_any_hesitation_we_support_Turkey_and_will_support_it_in_any_circumstances-1575737?fbclid=IwAR1fSrTe3ciOGKfFL2Q6GxDi5ETRWVGpDKm4lQOOIAvGN3qqSCP-K48Ztik

  • President of Azerbaijan: Law is law for everyone, no-one can be above law

    As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took part via videoconferencing in the opening of another modular hospital of the Health Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

    AZERTAC presents some excerpts from the President’s speech at the opening of the hospital.

    “Unfortunately, there are still people who do not understand the situation today, who have lost a sense of responsibility. There are cases of flagrant violation of the rules. When such cases are discovered, of course, punitive measures should be taken and applied. Punitive measures apply to all categories of people. There shouldn’t be and there is no discrimination. Everyone is equal before law regardless of their social status. Equality, justice and the rule of law are the main principles in Azerbaijan, and I call on all our citizens to act responsibly. First, they must act responsibly in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. On the other hand, those breaking the rules, organizing large-scale events and thus not reckoning with the laws and existing rules of the country in a demonstrative manner will be and are being punished. The public is also being informed about this issue. I think that the people of Azerbaijan are well aware that law is law for everyone. No-one can be above law, no-one can have any privileges and no-one can and will be given any concessions.”

    “All the work done is aimed at overcoming this situation with few losses, and I think we are achieving this. Everything is measured in comparison. If we look at the global statistics on COVID, we will see that the results obtained in our country are very effective and valuable. I think that it is thanks to these measures that we have saved the lives of thousands of people.”

    “I am confident that as a result of joint efforts, the decisive, thought-out and fair steps of the state, as well as the responsibility of our citizens, will allow us the opportunity to come out of this difficult situation with few losses and return to normal life as soon as possible.”

    Source: https://azertag.az/en/xeber/President_of_Azerbaijan_Law_is_law_for_everyone_no_one_can_be_above_law-1573591

Business News

The capital budget proposed 1 800 000 will be saved

The capital budget proposed 1 800 000 will be saved

City government 2015 budget amendments. It was presented by Mayor David Narmania said the budget ame...

Railway station to be opened in Batumi

Railway station to be opened in Batumi

Construction of a railway station started many years ago but terminated shortly after will come to a...

Prime Minister meets with businesspersons in Kakheti

Prime Minister meets with businesspersons in Kakheti

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili visited eastern Kakheti region within the framework of...

The Official Value of Dollar – 2.2533 GELS

The Official Value of Dollar – 2.2533 GELS

The official value of US Dollar reached 2.2533 GEL (Lari). National Bank of Georgia set the official...

MOST READ

« September 2020 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

About

The News Agency,
NEWSDAY.GE is
a part of STARVISION
Media Group.
It made its first
appearance on the Internet..More

 

Contact

NEWSDAY Ltd.
Lechkhumi street.43

Georgia,Tbilisi

Phone: (+995 32) 257 91 11
E-mail: avtandil@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Social Media