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A major new global ranking index tracking the state of free expression published today (Wednesday, 25 January) by Index on Censorship sees the UK ranked as only “partially open” in every key area measured.
In the overall rankings, the UK fell below countries including Australia, Israel, Costa Rica, Chile, Jamaica and Japan. European neighbours such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Denmark also all rank higher than the UK.
The Index Index, developed by Index on Censorship and experts in machine learning and journalism at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), uses innovative machine learning techniques to map the free expression landscape across the globe, giving a country-by-country view of the state of free expression across academic, digital and media/press freedoms.
Key findings include:
The countries with the highest ranking (“open”) on the overall Index are clustered around western Europe and Australasia – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.
The UK and USA join countries such as Botswana, Czechia, Greece, Moldova, Panama, Romania, South Africa and Tunisia ranked as “partially open”.
The poorest performing countries across all metrics, ranked as “closed”, are Bahrain, Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Laos, Nicaragua, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates performed poorly in the Index Index but are embedded in key international mechanisms including G20 and the UN Security Council.
Ruth Anderson, Index on Censorship CEO, said:
“The launch of the new Index Index is a landmark moment in how we track freedom of expression in key areas across the world. Index on Censorship and the team at Liverpool John Moores University have developed a rankings system that provides a unique insight into the freedom of expression landscape in every country for which data is available.
“The findings of the pilot project are illuminating, surprising and concerning in equal measure. The United Kingdom ranking may well raise some eyebrows, though is not entirely unexpected. Index on Censorship’s recent work on issues as diverse as Chinese Communist Party influence in the art world through to the chilling effect of the UK Government’s Online Safety Bill all point to backward steps for a country that has long viewed itself as a bastion of freedom of expression.
“On a global scale, the Index Index shines a light once again on those countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates with considerable influence on international bodies and mechanisms – but with barely any protections for freedom of expression across the digital, academic and media spheres.”
Nik Williams, Index on Censorship policy and campaigns officer, said:
“With global threats to free expression growing, developing an accurate country-by-country view of threats to academic, digital and media freedom is the first necessary step towards identifying what needs to change. With gaps in current data sets, it is hoped that future ‘Index Index’ rankings will have further country-level data that can be verified and shared with partners and policy-makers.
“As the ‘Index Index’ grows and develops beyond this pilot year, it will not only map threats to free expression but also where we need to focus our efforts to ensure that academics, artists, writers, journalists, campaigners and civil society do not suffer in silence.”
Steve Harrison, LJMU senior lecturer in journalism, said:
“Journalists need credible and authoritative sources of information to counter the glut of dis-information and downright untruths which we’re being bombarded with these days. The Index Index is one such source, and LJMU is proud to have played our part in developing it.
“We hope it becomes a useful tool for journalists investigating censorship, as well as a learning resource for students. Journalism has been defined as providing information someone, somewhere wants suppressed – the Index Index goes some way to living up to that definition.”
Visegrad/Insight devoted much of its November 2017 issue, ‘The Buzz Around the Ballot’ to the state of the media in its member countries – Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. ‘Media landscapes and disinformation in Central Europe’ gave serious attention to a subject most in the region shy away from. Read the full article
1. The submitting organisations welcome the opportunity to contribute to the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Azerbaijan. This submission focuses on compliance with international human rights obligations with respect to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly and of association, in particular concerns relating to:
2. The Azerbaijani Government has failed to implement many of the recommendations relating to each of these issues accepted during its last UPR, with the situation deteriorating quite significantly in the period under review.
3. Amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan were approved through a hasty referendum in September 2016, without any Parliamentary debate or scrutiny of the proposals, and amid a crackdown on journalists, activists and groups opposed to the amendments, preventing voters from having access to all relevant information and opinions. The referendum was also plagued by reports of irregularities, including ballot stuffing and fraud.(1) The Venice Commission also raised concerns that the referendum did not comply with even national legal requirements.(2)
4. The amendments include provisions with deleterious impacts on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Azerbaijan, including by consolidating the powers of the President and weakening democratic checks and balances, including by weakening the Courts.(3) Article 32 of the Constitution was amended to ostensibly protect against the publication of information about a person’s private life, but its broad scope potentially limits the ability of journalists and others to report information about public officials that are in the public interest. Article 47(III) was amended to prohibit propaganda provoking “hostility based on any other criteria”, which similarly may be applied to limit dissent against the requirements of international human rights law, while Article 49(II) of the Constitution was amended to enable sweeping restrictions on assemblies to prevent the disruption of “public order or public morale”.
5. These Constitutional amendments, and the weakening of the judiciary, further undermine the efforts of civil society, human rights defenders and others to bring national law into compliance with Azerbaijan’s international human rights law obligations, and to secure accountability for human rights violations.
Safety of journalists
6. During its last UPR, the Azerbaijani government accepted 8 recommendations(4) related to ensuring the safety of journalists, including by conducting impartial, thorough and effective investigations into all cases of attacks harassment and intimidation against them, and by bringing perpetrators of such offences to justice.(5) These recommendations have not been implemented, with impunity for attacks against journalists and media workers cultivating a climate of self-censorship.
7. There is still total impunity for the March 2005 murder of Monitor magazine editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov, as well as for the November 2011 murder of prominent writer and journalist Rafig Tagi.
8. In the period of review, the following cases are highlighted as evidence that impunity, as well as lack of adequate prevention and protection measures, are a continuing problem:
Enact measures to ensure the safety of journalists, in line with Human Rights Council resolution 33/2,(7) including, inter alia:
Arbitrary arrests and detentions of critics
9. During its last UPR, Azerbaijan accepted 16 recommendations(8) related to ensuring that human rights defenders, lawyers and other civil society actors are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear or threat of reprisal, obstruction or legal and administrative harassment. Similar recommendations were accepted in relation to the treatment of journalists and writers, including that defamation should be decriminalised.(9)
10. Nevertheless, in the period under review Azerbaijan has continued its practice of targeting critical or dissenting voices with politically motivated arrests on spurious charges, extended pre-trial detentions (ranging from months to more than a year) and custodial sentences. The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, who visited Azerbaijan in May 2016, have noted that, notwithstanding the release of some high profile prisoners, the practice of the government to detain those with oppositional views continues, in violation of their international human rights law obligations.(10)
11. The Azerbaijani authorities arbitrarily arrest individuals for engaging in dissent and release them as a mechanism of control. There are often waves of arbitrary arrests and detentions prior to and around significant events, for example in the run up to and after the European Olympic Games in 2014 and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2015. As of August 2017, civil society activists within Azerbaijan estimate there to be 158 confirmed political prisoners. (11, 12)
12. Individuals arbitrarily arrested or detained for their political opposition include:
13. Arbitrarily arrested and detained journalists and bloggers, include:
14. The following writers and poets have been arbitrarily arrested and detained:
15. The following civil society actors have also been arbitrarily arrested and detained in the period under review:
16. The following activists have been arbitrarily arrested and detained:
17. Released political prisoners are commonly unable to return to their previous work and political activities. Many have not had convictions quashed, are under surveillance, face travel bans, and ongoing harassment:
18. The family members in Azerbaijan of dissidents living abroad have also been targeted:
19. During its last UPR, the Azerbaijan authorities accepted recommendations to enhance the role of the Ombudsman as a preventative mechanism against torture.(21) However, as the Working Group also noted, there are serious and credible allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment against those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, which are not adequately investigated. These include the case of Bayram Mammadov (above)(22). Mehman Huseynov, a popular blogger known for exposing corruption among Azerbaijani officials, who was convicted to two years’ imprisonment on defamation charges in March 2017. The charges were in connection to a statement Huseynov made in January 2017, describing torture inflicted upon him by police officers after his detention.
Forced closure and harassment of independent media outlets and journalists
20. During its last UPR, Azerbaijan accepted 14(23) recommendations related to ensuring respect for media freedom, independent journalism, and media diversity, including to take into account Council of Europe in this regard.(24)
21. The Azerbaijani authorities dominate the country’s media landscape, through regulations, direct ownership or indirect economic control. In the period under review, the majority of independent media outlets have been forced to close or go into exile, with those still operating inside the country subject to police raids, financial pressures, and prosecution of journalists and editors on politically-motivated charges. Where media outlets have been forced to stop print publication and publish only online, their sites are subject to periodic blocking and throttling by the Azerbaijani authorities.
22. Forced closure of media outlets include:
23. Meydan TV, an independent online media outlet whose coverage includes human rights abuses and government corruption, closed its Baku office in December 2014 due to safety concerns. It continues to operate from its headquarters in Germany, in cooperation with journalists in Azerbaijan, despite relentless harassment and state-level blocking of the site since May 2017.(32) In August 2015, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case in relation to Meydan TV’s activities under Articles 213.2.2 (evasion of taxes in a large amount), 192.2.2 (illegal business) and 308.2 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code. In April 2016, 15 individuals were named in the criminal investigation, with Aynur Elgunash, Aytaj Ahmadova, Sevinj Vagifgizi, and Natig Javadli subject to travel bans.(33) Journalists associated with Meydan TV have been repeatedly summoned for interrogations by the Prosecutor’s Office.(34) The case remains open.
24. Harassment of individual journalists who express critical opinions or deviate from official State accounts in their reporting remains a serious concern. In September 2017, dozens of journalists were dismissed from the government controlled ATV television channel after well-known journalist and TV host. Turan Ibrahimov spoke on a live broadcast about corruption, including how high-ranking officials targeted an entrepreneur to illegally take over his business.(35)
25. Access to foreign media outlets remains restricted, notwithstanding the government’s acceptance of a specific UPR recommendation to expand media freedoms across broadcast platforms, including by ending its ban on foreign broadcasts on FM radio frequencies as well as restrictions on the broadcast of foreign language television programmes.(36) A 2009 ban imposed by NTRC (based on Article 13 of Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Telecommunication), remains in place, preventing foreign entities from accessing national frequencies, which effectively took the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Voice of America, off the air.(37) The NTRC, established on 5 October 2002 by Presidential Decree (#795), is fully funded from the state budget and the President directly appoints its members. Similarly, the Azerbaijani public service broadcaster, Ictimai, consistently demonstrates clear bias favourable to the government and ruling party, a problem exacerbated by the lack of media pluralism and alternative information sources in the country.
26. Civil society organisations focused on media freedom issues have also been targeted. In August 2014, the office of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) was raided by the authorities in the capital Baku as part of a broader crackdown on NGOs in Azerbaijan. They confiscated equipment, documents, and assets, and the staff were harassed and interrogated by Azerbaijan’s Public Prosecutor office. As a result, IRFS has been forced to cease its operations in Azerbaijan; its Director, Emin Huseynov, remains in exile since fleeing Azerbaijan in 2014.(38)
Legislative restrictions to freedom of expression online
27. During its last UPR, Azerbaijan accepted recommendations to protect freedom of expression online.(39) However, various laws have been amended to increase restrictions in the period under review.
28. On 15 November 2016, the Azerbaijani Parliament approved amendments to Articles 148 and 323 of the Criminal Code, creating a new offence of “slander or insult” through “fake user names, profiles or accounts”, as well as increasing penalties for “smearing or humiliating the honour and dignity” of the Azerbaijani president where the offence is committed online.(40) The government has not acted on its 2011 proposal to decriminalize defamation,(41) which currently carries a sentence of up to 3 years in prison. This is in spite of accepting a recommendation at the 2nd UPR cycle to abolish defamation provisions in the criminal code, and to “refrain from initiating defamation lawsuits against civil society activists and journalists”.
29. On 10 March 2017, the Parliament passed new amendments to the laws on “Information, Informatisation and Protection of Information” and “Telecommunications”, extending government control over online media.(42) The amendments establish obligations for website owners or hosts to delete within eight hours, on notice from the authorities, unlawful content.(43) Prohibited content includes any information criminalised under national laws, including broad “extremism” and “defamation” provisions. If the content is not removed, authorities can apply for a court order to block the website, though websites with information considered “a danger for the state or society” can be blocked without a court order, subject to subsequent judicial review.
30. Between March and April 2017, access to a number of online new sites with content critical of the government were blocked in Azerbaijan.(44) Contrary to the provisions in the above laws, neither the hosts or owners of these outlets were informed about the blocks in advance. On 12 May 2017, a Baku Court ruled to impose an official ban on five independent media websites deemed harmful and dangerous for national security. Along with Meydan TV, Azadliq newspaper, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Azerbaijani Service, Azerbaijan Saati website and video channel, and Turan TV video channel have all been blocked.(45)
31. In September 2017, access to the website of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) was blocked inside Azerbaijan after they published the “Azerbaijan Laundromat” – a series of reports that uncovered high level corruption by Azerbaijani officials and implicated European and other diplomats and politicians.(46)
Legislative restrictions to freedom of association
32. During its last UPR, the Azerbaijan government accepted numerous specific recommendations to bring its Law on Non-Governmental Organisations into conformity with international human rights law and to create a safe and enabling environment for civil society,(47) but it has not done so.
33. In 2013 and 2014, amendments to the already-onerous 2011 Law on Non-Governmental Organisations (Public Associations and Funds) entered into force. These amendments provided the government with broad discretion to dissolve, impose financial penalties on, and freeze the assets of NGOs for infractions of administrative regulations, closing the few remaining loopholes for the operation of unregistered, independent, and foreign organisations.(48) The Venice Commission has found that the amendments “seem to be intrusive enough to constitute a prima facie violation of the right to freedom of association”(49), and their impact since has caused the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to call for their repeal.(50)
34. The 2014 amendments established a de facto licensing regime for NGOs, giving the government broad discretion to arbitrarily refuse or delay the registration of grants, establishing complicated and onerous procedures for registration, and allowed for restrictions on NGOs’ access to their bank accounts for non-compliance. The impact of these new rules has been to severely limit civil society space. While some NGOs have reportedly had their bank accounts unfrozen in April 2016,(51) several organisations no longer have in their possession many of the documents required for grant registration, because Azerbaijani investigative authorities seized them in the course of inspections and criminal investigations.(52) Meanwhile, the accounts of many other human rights organisations and independent NGOs remain frozen, including in July 2014 those of the Legal Education Society and its head, Intigam Aliyev, causing the NGO to cease operations.
35. The 2014 amendments have also made it much harder for foreign entities to provide grants to local NGOs, requiring them to have an agreement with government ministries. As a consequence, throughout 2015, foreign governments that previously provided grants to local NGOs postponed their activities.
36. The Government of Azerbaijan established the Azerbaijani State Council for Support to NGOs in 2007, which aims to provide a domestic source of financial assistance to local NGOs. However, NGOs applying to the Council for grants have reported that they were told to sign a statement promising to refuse to have any relations with international NGOs critical of the Government of Azerbaijan, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, among others. In addition, one NGO receiving funding from the Council has reported that its activities have become subject to constant control by the state donor, undermining its ability to operate independently.
37. On October 21, 2016, President Aliyev signed into law a decree on the Simplification of Registration of Foreign Grants in Azerbaijan, effective from 1 January 2017.(53) The new regulations simplify some procedures for registration of foreign grants, but do not address the legal requirement for NGOs to register grants, and do not eliminate the requirement for the Ministry of Finance to provide an opinion on the expediency of each grant from a foreign donor, and most importantly, they do not change the broad discretion of the authorities to arbitrarily deny grant registration. The Law on Grants and the Law on State Registration and State Register of Legal Entities remains intact.
Restrictions to freedom of assembly and protests
38. During the last UPR cycle, Azerbaijan accepted multiple recommendations regarding protection of the right to peaceful assembly.(54) However, the authorities continue to severely restrict protests in public spaces and organisers of peaceful actions have been arbitrarily arrested and detained.
39. Amendments to the Law on Peaceful Assembly in May 2008 stipulate that demonstrations may only held in a number of approved sites, all of which are far from the centre of Baku, thereby diminishing the impact of protest. Further changes to the Law on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, adopted in November 2012 and criticised by UN special procedures, criminalised participants of peaceful gatherings when they “cause significant violation of the rights and legal interests of citizens”.(55) On 14 May 2013, amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences increased the penalties for “organising, holding and attending an unauthorised assembly” to 60 days’ detention, receiving criticism from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.(56)
40. Police have used unlawful and disproportionate force to disperse protests,(57) and participants in peaceful assemblies have been arbitrarily detained.(58) For example:
1. Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety Statement on the Outcomes of the Constitutional Referendum in Azerbaijan, (29 September 2016), available at https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/the-institute-for-reporters-freedom-and-safety-statement-on-the-outcomes-of-the-constitutional-referendum-in-azerbaijan/.
2. Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, Azerbaijan Preliminary Opinion on the draft modifications to the constitution submitted to the referendum of 26th September 2016, (20 September 2016), available at
http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-PI(2016)010-e p. 5
3. See e.g., amendments to Articles 89, 98, 100, 101, 103, 105, 106, and 108 of the Constitution, available at http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-REF(2016)054-e.
4. Recommendations of Canada, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Norway and Austria.
5. Specifically the recommendations of Canada, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Norway.
6. Council of Europe’s Media Alert Platform, Meydan TV Director Emin Milli Threatened for Critical Reporting on European Games, (30 June 2015), available at – https://go.coe.int/1y4r2
7. ARTICLE 19, “Prevent – Protect – Prosecute: Acting on UN Human Rights Council Resolution 33/2”, (September 2017), available at: https://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/38883/Safety-of-Journalists-guide.pdf
8. Recommendations of Austria, Ireland, Slovakia, United States, United Arab Emirates, Czechia, France, Italy, Canada (x2), Sweden, Chile, Norway, Mexico and Germany.
9. Recommendations of Slovenia, Germany, Canada, and Austria.
10. Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on its mission to Azerbaijan, A/HRC/36/37/Add.1, 2 August 2017; available at: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/36/37/Add.1
11. The Working Group on Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan, Updated Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan, (28 August 2017), available at –
12. All Articles in this section refer to Articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.
13. European Court of Human Rights, Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan (Application No. 15172/13), 22 May 2014
14. Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Decision CM/Del/Dec(2017)1294/H46-2, 21 September 2017; available at: https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=0900001680749f3c
15. Meydan TV, Customs Service Releases Info. on Arrest of Gozel Bayramli, (29 May 2017), available at – https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/politics/23173/
16. Council of Europe’s Media Alert Platform, Azerbaijani Journalist Elchin Ismayilli Sentenced to 9 year in Prison, (18 September 2017), available at – https://go.coe.int/alXEf
17. International Press Institute, Concerns as head of Azerbaijan news agency arrested, (31 August 2017), available at – https://ipi.media/concerns-as-head-of-azerbaijan-news-agency-arrested/
18. The Azerbaijan Free Expression Platform, Imprisoned (2013): Ilkin Rustemzade, (15 June 2016), available at – http://azerbaijanfreexpression.org/ilkin-rustemzade/
19. The Azerbaijan Free Expression Platform, Arrested (2016): Elgiz Gahraman, (18 August 2016), available at – http://azerbaijanfreexpression.org/arrested-2016-elgiz-gahraman/
20. The Azerbaijan Free Expression Platform, Conditionally Released (2016): Intigam Aliyev, (18 August 2016), available at – http://azerbaijanfreexpression.org/imprisoned-2014-intigam-aliyev/
21. Recommendation of Bulgaria.
22. Meydan TV, Youth activist Bayram Mammadov on torture in police custody, (17 May 2016), available at -https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/politics/14510/
23. Recommendations by Canada (x3), Cyprus (x2), Italy, Germany, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Netherlands (x2), Norway and Austria.
24. Specifically recommendations Italy
25. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Deprived of income, Azerbaijani paper is forced to stop publishing, (20 June 2014) available at https://rsf.org/en/news/deprived-income-azerbaijani-paper-forced-stop-publishing
26. RFE/RL – Radio Azadliq, Azadliq Radio Baku Bureau Sealed Shut , (26 December 2014), available at -https://www.azadliq.org/a/26763625.html
27. RFE/RL, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service: Radio Azadliq, available at – https://pressroom.rferl.org/p/6126.html
29. Council of Europe (CoE)’s PACE, The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan (provisional report), p.12
30. Chai-khana, Azerbaijan’s ANS: Death of a TV Station, (17 July 2017), available at: https://chai-khana.org/en/azerbaijans-ans-death-of-a-tv-station
31. CoE, Statement on the arrest of Mehman Aliyev in Azerbaijan, (25 August 2017) available at – https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/statement-on-the-arrest-of-mehman-aliyev-in-azerbaijan
33. Meydan TV, Fifteen journalists named in criminal investigation of Meydan TV, (21 April 2016), available at -https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/13829/
34. E.g. https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/24362/
35. IRFS, Major Shake-up at ATV, (27 September 2017), available at – https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/major-shake-up-at-atv/
36. As recommended by Canada.
37. RFE/RL, Azerbaijan Bans RFE/RL, Other Foreign Radio From Airwaves, (30 December 2008), available at https://www.rferl.org/a/Azerbaijan_Bans_RFERL_Other_Foreign_Radio/1364986.html
38. The Guardian, Swiss fly out opposition journalist hiding at its Azerbaijan embassy, (14 June 2015), available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/14/swiss-fly-out-opposition-journalist-hiding-at-its-azerbaijan-embassy
39. Recommendations of Czechia and Canada
40. IRFS, Azerbaijani Parliament Approve Bill Restricting Online Speech, (29 November 2016), available at https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/azerbaijani-parliament-approves-bill-restricting-online-speech/.
41. See National Program for Action to Raise Effectiveness of Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in the Republic of Azerbaijan, (27 December 2011), available at http://en.president.az/articles/4017.
42. IRFS, Azerbaijani Government Takes Big Steps to Keep Online Media under Control, as Parliament Adopts Restrictive Law related to Information, (10 March 2017) available at https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/azerbaijani-government-takes-big-steps-to-keep-online-media-under-control-as-parliament-adopts-restrictive-law-related-to-information/.
43. As above.
44. Meydan TV, Blocking of Websites in Azerbaijan Moving Ahead at Full Steam, (17 April 2017) available at – https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/22317/
45. Eurasianet.org, Azerbaijan: Court Upholds the Blocking of Independent Media Outlets (15 May 2017), available at – http://www.eurasianet.org/node/83591
46. Meydan TV, OCCRP blocked in Azerbaijan, (5 September 2017) available at – https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/24988/
47. Recommendations of Austria, Ireland, Slovakia, United States, Switzerland, Czechia, France, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Uruguay.
48. US State Department, Country Reports for Human Rights Practices 2015: Azerbaijan, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253035.pdf p.22
49. Venice Commission Opinion, supra note 3, at para. 91
51. Minval.az, Власти снимают арест на банковские счета ряда НПО, (06 April 2016), available at – http://minval.az/news/123568530
52. US State Department, Country Reports for Human Rights Practices 2015: Azerbaijan, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253035.pdf p.22; See also: http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/pwyp-news/azerbaijan-authorities-raid-civil-society-offices-in-continued-crackdown-on-ngos/
53. The International Centre for Non-Profit Law, Civic Freedom Monitor: Azerbaijan, (29 May 2017), available at – http://www.icnl.org/research/monitor/azerbaijan.html
54. Recommendations of Slovakia, United States, Germany, France, Uruguay, and Hungary.
56. CoE Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Report following Commissioner Muižnieks visit to Azerbaijan – 22 to 24 May 2013, (6 August 2013), available at – https://wcd.coe.int/com.instranet.InstraServlet?command=com.instranet.CmdBlobGet&InstranetImage=2501767&SecMode=1&DocId=2130154&Usage=2
57. Such as the official shown in the photo on the cover of ARTICLE 19’s report ‘Living as Dissidents’, taken during a 14 April 2010 unsanctioned demonstration staged by the Musavat Party. See ARTICLE 19, ‘Azerbaijan: Authorities Clamp Down on Protesters in First Election-Related Demonstration’, 15 April 2010. http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/azerbaijan-authorities-clamp-down-on-protesters-in-first-election-related-de.pdf
58. For example, a flash mob by 5 individuals in support Rasul Jafarov, one of the arrested human rights defenders, on his birthday on 17 August 2014, resulted in arbitrary arrests and police violence.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”12″ style=”load-more” items_per_page=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1507719850906-a6d11292-e9f6-0″ taxonomies=”7145″][/vc_column][/vc_row]