The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed its concern as the crackdown against journalists, activists and freedom fighters continues in Azerbaijan.
After recent arrests and detentions of at least 12 media workers, bloggers and journalists, local news website editor ElchinIsmayilli was arrested on 17 February and accused of “extortion of money and aggravated abuse of influential position” (Articles 182.2.2 and Article 308.2 of the Criminal Code), accusations which the journalist denies.
>On 22 February, the Baku Court of Appeal dismissed the arrest appeal made by Ismayilli’s lawyer, after claiming that an investigation conducted previously proves the journalist was caught “red-handed” while taking a bribe from an employee of the Department of Tourism of Ismayilly region where they both live. The journalist claims that the official in question is actually an old friend, and that he asked for a loan. Ismayilli’s arrest was ordered by a regional official who was often the target of criticism by Ismayilli in the past. The journalist claims all charges are false and that he is being persecuted because of his professional activities and opinions.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.