US Ambassador Calls Azerbaijan to Provide Freedom of Speech
Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. S.Agayeva / The US position regarding freedom of the media is quite clear. Journalists should not be detained in prisons for free expression of their opinions. The article compiled for criminal punishment for slander should be excluded from the Azerbaijani Criminal Code in compliance with the European Commission on human rights.
Seven Azerbaijani journalists, charged with slander and insult, are still being detained in prison. Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor-in-chief of the newspapers Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realni Azerbaijan, Rovshan Kabirli, the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Mukhalifat, the journalist Yashar Agazadeh, as well as Samir Sadatoglu, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Sanat, Rafik Tagi, an independent journalist, Mirza Sakit, a journalist from Azadlig and Faramah Allahverdiyev, a journalist from Noto-Bene, are among the detained journalists.
Azerbaijan has the highest number of detained journalists out of a list consisting of 56 country-participants of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said Miklosh Kharashti, a representative on freedom of speech of the organization to the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, in April 2007.
International human rights groups and organizations on human rights, the US and EU called on the Azerbaijani Government to release all detained journalists.
The US ambassador also called Azerbaijan to fulfill liabilities taken by the government before Europe.
The fate of the journalists depends on the government, Ali Hasanov, the head of the public political department of the Executive Presidential Administration, said.