İctimai fəallar niyə həbs olunur?

İctimai fəallar niyə həbs olunur?

In recent days, concerns have mounted over freedom of expression in Azerbaijan as several activists have been summoned to the prosecutor's office and the State Security Service. Some of them have faced administrative arrests lasting 30 days, citing Article 388-1.1.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, which pertains to the dissemination of information through information reserves or information-telecommunication networks prohibited by Azerbaijan's law on information, informatization, and protection of information. However, the relatives of these detained individuals assert that these activists were merely expressing their dissenting views against war and military operations.

Notably, parallels are being drawn to the previous "anti-terrorist measures" implemented by Azerbaijani authorities in Karabakh, where social networks came under government control, but educational measures for the safety of residents in conflict-affected areas were not prioritized.

Fazil Mustafa, a member of the Milli Majlis Human Rights Committee, acknowledged in an interview with Turan the difficulty of defining the boundaries of freedom of expression. He explained that while expressing opposition to a state's anti-terrorist operation can be viewed as an exercise of human freedom of thought, the practical implications differ due to state policy. Mustafa emphasized the warnings from the Ministry of Defense and the prosecutor general's office, which called for caution when disseminating information on such issues.

"People should decide for themselves whether they want to become 'heroes' by opposing the war," Mustafa noted, implying that such opposition could have consequences. "In other words, when the state and the people are at war, and you oppose the war, these statements can cast a shadow on the entire process. Therefore, we must take these matters seriously and prevent them from becoming socially provocative."

Bashir Suleymanli, head of the Institute of Civil Rights, in an interview with Radio Azadlig criticized the recent arrests of public activists, saying that they have no legal basis. He argued that Article 388-1.1.1, cited in these arrests, pertains to the dissemination of information prohibited by law, which typically involves state or military secrets. Criticizing the war and expressing opposition, Suleymanli argued, should not fall under the purview of this article.

Suleymanli stressed the importance of a diversity of opinions and pluralism, emphasizing that people should not face persecution or pressure for expressing their views. He asserted that allowing different perspectives and opinions is integral to a democratic society.

Regarding the issue of informing citizens about security matters, Suleymanli noted that there are already significant challenges in this regard. He acknowledged that people in conflict-affected regions are often inadequately informed, and misinformation has been prevalent. Instead of imposing restrictions, Suleymanli argued that the government should focus on educating and informing the public to ensure their safety and well-being.

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