Reporters without Borders on the sentence on Hashimli and detention of French journalists

The Reporters without Borders strongly condemns the prison sentence of 8 years for the columnist of Bizim Yol, Parviz Hashimli.

"After eight months of detention, the conviction of Parviz Hashimli looks like a new political machination with the sole aim to silence critical voices," said the head of the Department of Eastern Europe and Central Asia Johan Bir.

"We are outraged that the sentence produced with violations of all rights of the defense was made at a time when Azerbaijan took over the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe," he said.

The situation with freedom of information and human rights in Azerbaijan is particularly troubling, as media pluralism melts every day there.

 May 14 the country took over the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe and is at the same time one of the 47 most repressive countries, where human rights are violated.

At least 9 journalists are in prison because of their professional activities. Ilham Aliyev will not stop until he destroys all the voices criticizing him, the organization said.

May 14, two days after the official visit of French President Francois Hollande to Baku, fifteen security agents arrested two French journalists in the Baku airport, when they were leaving the country.

The reporter Richard Laurent and the cameraman Emanuel Bach arrived in Azerbaijan to illuminate the visit of Hollande. They lingered for two days to meet with human rights activists and opposition members, for use in one of the shows on television.

  The officers that arrested them seized their computers and hard drives, and memory cards, which recorded interviews with their meetings. When the reporters refused to leave without the equipment, they were simply expelled forcibly and put on a plane.

"We have long known that the Azerbaijani authorities trample the rights of local journalists, but now the regime does not hesitate to attack roughly foreign journalists, including those accredited in the official delegation of the President of France," the statement said.  -02D-

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