Authorities must stop suppressing freedom of expression in disguise as a pandemic - IFSR

Baku/27.04.20/Turan: The Institute of Freedom and Security of Reporters (IFSR) condemns the Azerbaijani authorities for initiating large-scale repressions against critics and restricting freedom of expression against the background of aggravation of the problems caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement by the IFSR on April 27, the fabricated criminal and administrative prosecutions of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists, as well as ordinary citizens, are the result of recent public calls by the President of Azerbaijan to consider all dissenters as enemies and isolate them.

In particular, the following were arrested: well-known opposition figure Tofig Yagublu, human rights activist Elchin Mammad, opposition figure Zamin Salayev. Freelance reporters: Ibrahim Vezirov, Mirsahib Rahiloglu, Natig Isbatov and Ismail Nadirli were arrested for alleged violations of the quarantine regime.

Under the tacit house arrest, the leader of the opposition, the leaders of the Popular Front party Ali Karimli, was transferred to whom the landline and mobile phones in the apartment were disconnected. Many journalists who visited him in the apartment for interviews over the past 10 days have been threatened and pressured by law enforcement agencies.

IFSR calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately put an end to all of the above attacks on freedom of speech, as well as to immediately release from prison all, without exception (over 120) political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

IFSR also calls on international organizations to condemn the illegal actions of the Azerbaijani authorities within their mandates and demand that they strictly comply with the country's international obligations to protect freedom of expression and prevent their restrictions even during the threat of the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic. — 06D-


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