The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) called for the immediate release of Ikram Rahimov, editor-in-chief of online news outlet realliq.info, after he was sentenced to one year in prison.
Rahimov was sentenced by Sumgayit City Court on 25 November, under the Article 147.2 of the Azerbaijan Criminal Code, and directly after the court decision imprisoned. Article 147.2 of the criminal law refers to libel involving the accusation against an individual for a “serious or especially serious offence”. The sentence follows an investigation into libel launched against the editor, after he published an article on bribery committed by local authorities. The piece was based on information Rahimov received from Rahman Novruzov, who was also sentenced to a one year prison term.
Allegedly, Rahimov stated that he was tortured by local police members for three days after refusing to apologize to city authorities once the article was published.
“In Azerbaijan, it seems that journalists have become easy targets for authorities, and that not only their freedom of speech is violated, but also their human rights” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.