ISSN 2330-717X

Azerbaijan: Online Journalist Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

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Reporters Without Borders said it is dismayed to learn that a court in the Baku district of Absheron yesterday sentenced online journalist Ramin Bayramov, the editor of the Islamazeri.az website, to 18 months in prison on charges of illegal possession of drugs and firearms. He has been detained since 11 July 2011.

“Bayramov is almost certainly just the latest victim of a crackdown on pro-Iranian religious sectors in Azerbaijan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Baku and Tehran must stop making journalists pay for the diplomatic dispute they are waging. Freedom of expression and information must be respected and Bayramov must be allowed the right to express his views whatever they may be.”

There have been doubts about the reasons for his arrest from the outset. He was arrested on same day as one of the leaders of the Azerbaijani Islamic Party (IPA), Arif Ganiyev, and it was initially reported that the National Security Ministry suspected Bayramov of having links with the Iranian Cultural Centre in Baku and belonging to the radical Shiite group Jafari.

But the prosecutor’s office nonetheless decided to charge him under criminal code articles 228.1 (illegal possession of firearms) and 234.1 (illegal possession of drugs). Ganiyev was convicted on the same charges on 26 January.

The Islamazeri.az website covers Azerbaijani politics and current affairs from a conservative viewpoint that is critical of the government. It has, for example, opposed the government’s ban on wearing the hijab in schools.

Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries.

4 thoughts on “Azerbaijan: Online Journalist Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

  • March 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm
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    The laws need to be obeyed, but also we need to make sure that charges are true and trials are fair and impartial. If Azerbaijan doesn’t change its ways, the people should pick new leadership – from outside of the bourgeois. A good start is Elman Rustamov, the governor of Azerbaijan Central Bank. Very good man and great leader.

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  • March 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm
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    The punishment fits the crime, but only if this poor guy ACTUALLY commited the crime. Putting a journalist in prison is always fishy. The political infrastructure in Baku is pretty corrupt, except for the private sector. Lets oust the politicians and let someone like Elman Rustamov, head of the AZ Central Bank, help people prosper.

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  • March 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm
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    The journalist should be helped by the Azeri government, but nothing comes of it. They don’t want to interrupt trade, which is led by Azerbaijan Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov. I think Sharifov puts money and helping politicians over doing what’s right for the people.

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  • June 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm
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    What a joke. If Azerbaijan was smart, they would release this man. The country needs more openness, not secrecy. Secrecy only covers up the corruption. Like, the oil and energy boom in Azerbaijan. Good for the country? Sure. Fair? No way. The head of all the finance and economic development, Samir Sharifov practices corruption and is helped by the Obama administration. He carries out Obama’s agenda in Azerbaijan in exchange for kickback money from the Agency for International Development (AID).

    Reply

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