Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Azerbaijan11 December 2007

Reporter gets one-year suspended sentence on appeal


Journalist Ilgar Nasibov was given a one-year suspended sentence in a closed-door hearing by a Nakhchivan City appeal court yesterday, four days after a court sentenced to three months in prison for allegedly defaming a senior police officer and the rector of the Nakhchivan state university. Nasibov had reported that the rector was aware that a Kurdish students group had been formed within the university.

7.12 : Arrest in western province brings number of journalists detained to ten

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the arrest and summary trial yesterday of Ilgar Nasibov, the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s correspondent in the western region of Nakhchivan. A court in Nakhchivan City sentenced him to three months in prison under article 147.1 of the criminal code for allegedly defaming police chief Sabuhi Novruzov.

Nasibov went to the court yesterday in response to a summons to sign documents, and was unaware the police chief was bringing a complaint against him. The trial went ahead although he was not represented by a lawyer.

“Convicted of defamation after a verbal exchange with a police chief, Nasibov was the victim of a very unfair fight,” Reporters Without Borders said. “His arrest brings the number of journalists detained in Azerbaijan to ten. This campaign of harassment of the opposition press is unacceptable. The procedures used to imprison Nasibov were utterly illegal. Justice requires that he be freed at once.”

RFE/RL said in a press release it was not known where the authorities took Nasibov after the trial. The exchange of words between him and the police chief occurred in a market on 4 December. The police chief insulted him, told him his work was disruptive and accused him of spreading false information about events in Nakhchivan. Nasibov responded by writing a letter to President Ilham Aliyev complaining about the way the authorities treated him.


Calling for Nasibov’s immediate release, RFE/RL president Jeff Gedmin said his imprisonment was a “complete mockery of due process which violates Azerbaijan’s own lawful, judicial procedure.” He said the Nakhchivan authorities had been harassing Nasibov and his wife, Malahat Nasibov, who also works for RFE/RL, and bringing false accusations against them for the past year.

The police also searched Nasibov’s home yesterday, removing his computer and files. The search was the result of a separate complaint by a parliamentarian, Isa Habbibbeyli, who claimed that Nasibov’s computer contained articles defaming him.

Nakhchivan is a lawless territory for journalists, who are often the victims of abuse by the police and other local authorities there. Nasibov’s imprisonment comes amid steadily mounting pressure on the independent press throughout Azerbaijan, which was ranked 139th out of 169 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index.

  In this country
28 May - Azerbaijan
Court breaks law by refusing to release journalist on health grounds
9 April - Azerbaijan
Mirza Sakit Zahidov finally released
2 March - Azerbaijan
Four years after editor’s murder, investigators have achieved nothing
6 February - Azerbaijan
Court rejects early release for jailed newspaper reporter
22 January - Azerbaijan
Four journalists threatened and expelled from Nakhchivan for trying to investigate disappearance of mother and son

in the annual report
Azerbaijan - Annual Report 2008
Azerbaijan - Annual report 2007
Azerbaijan - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives