Azerbaijan Government Cannot Prevent Lawsuits on Journalists: Senior State Official

Society Materials 6 February 2008 10:31 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 5 February / corr Trend I.Alizade / The Azerbaijan Government is not willing to take action to prevent lawsuits from being filed against journalists by citizens.

"The Azerbaijan Government is concerned about the arrest of journalists. However, the authorities appraise the citizens' right for appealing to courts and does not intend to prevent it," Ali Hasanov, the head of the Public-Political Department of the Azerbaijani President's Executive Apparat, stated in talks with journalists on 5 February.

By the end of 2007 eight journalists had been kept in custody in Azerbaijan. Many of them were accused of slander and disparagement. At the end of December President Aliyev signed an act of amnesty and five of the journalists were released. Three journalists are still in prison.

Hasanov said that every person enjoys the right to defend his rights in court. "If Azerbaijan is building a state based on the rule of law, we do not recognize any method for protection of human rights other than the court," he stated.

Hasanov said that journalists should learn to work within the framework of the law. At the same time, people need to be tolerant towards the journalists' critiques.

"Amnesty of journalists by the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has given journalists the opportunity to respect human rights, Hasanov said.