International Partnership for Human Rights filed a submission pursuant to Rule 9(2) of the Committee of Ministers’ Rules for the Supervision of the Execution of Judgments in respect of the Mahmudov and Agazade group v. Azerbaijan, consisting of three cases concerning imprisonment of journalists under criminal defamation charges: Mahmudov and Agazade v. Azerbaijan (Appl. no.35877/04), Fatullayev v. Azerbaijan (Appl. no.40984/07) and Tagiyev and Huseynov v. Azerbaijan (Appl. no.13274/08).
The three judgments in the Mahmudov and Agazade group concern violations of the right to freedom of expression of the applicant journalists resulting from their criminal conviction and imprisonment for insult and defamation; and, in the Fatullayev case, the arbitrary application of anti-terror legislation (incitement to violence, racial or religious hatred) leading to the applicant’s extended sentence (violations of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights). The Court found that the use of imprisonment as a sanction was unjustified under Article 10. The Fatullayev case also concerns violations of the right to an impartial tribunal (violation of Article 6 § 1) and the right to the presumption of innocence (violation of Article 6 § 2) due to public statements made by the public prosecutor.
In light of the upcoming examination of this group of cases by the CM at its next DH human rights meeting in September 2022, this submission provides comments on the Government’s most recent communication of 25 May 2021 to the CM concerning general measures, as well as updates on most relevant developments.
It also includes the following recommendations to the Azeri Government: