Penalty for Child Pornography To Be Toughened in Azerbaijan – Experts
Azerbaijan, Baku, 15 April / Trend corr. K.Zarbaliyeva / The Azerbaijani community is concerned with the widespread of video material through mobiles and Internet depicting child pornography. The video material proves that the children and their clients are Azerbaijanis.
The experts of the Council of Europe proposed to introduce a special article on child pornography to the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. The established Task Group has developed a project to make amendments and supplements in the Code and it was submitted to the Parliament for approval. Muzaffar Agazada, a member of the Task Group and judge of the Supreme Court, informed Trend that it was proposed to introduce Article 241-1, Development and release of child pornography in the Criminal Code of the country. Under the Article, any person who is involved in such a crime, will be fined in sum of from 1,000 to 5,000 conventional unities and sentenced to two correctional years and 3 - 5 years imprisonment.
Agazade stated that under the project, the crimes related to child pornography, committed by their parents or tutors, will be sentenced 4 - 7 years imprisonment.
The Judge of Supreme Court stated that the Article is also included in the legislation of most countries. The issue on responsibility for crimes connected with child pornography was omitted during the development of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan in 2000.
Agazade stated that there are regulations of similar crimes in the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, namely an Article on the attraction of under-aged to prostitution or immoral actions.
Matanat Azizova, head of the Women Crisis Centre, support the toughened punishment against child pornography. "People found guilty of child pornography will, as in the case of rape, be fined and sentenced," she said.
" Russia is also considering toughening punishment for similar crimes. Persons who commit such a crime for the first time must be severely punished and those who repeatedly commit the same crime must be sentenced to life imprisonment. After their release they must then be monitored," Azizova stated.
The Head of the Center said that that in the past offenders were interested in sex in foreign countries, now it takes place within the country. "This can be confirmed from information spread through mobile phones," he said.
Most of the children involved in children's pornography are those who live in boarding schools and homeless children living in the streets and without parental control, Azizova said. The expert is concerned that children's pornography will be simplified within a short period of time. Azizova deems it important to establish a rehabilitation center for the children who are victims of this crime. She also proposes to investigate the websites and punish the originator of the sites.
Yusif Bakirov, the Head of the Children's Rights League said that child pornography is wide-spread in many countries as it is considered to be profitable.
Bakirov believes that punishment for this kind of crime must be toughened. "If there is only a fine given for committing such a crime, those who employ this practice as a source of income can avoid responsibility by just paying off the fines. For instance, those accused of human trafficking are not held criminally responsibility," Bakirov said.
The expert said that the main reason for the widespread pornography is insufficient social security for children. According to Bakirov, the children from boarding schools are frequently victims of child pornography. The expert believes that control in boarding schools is not sufficient. "Even some children were made to leave Azerbaijan and used as sex slaves abroad.
According to Gular Ahmadova, the MP and the head of the Republican Children's Center said that the situation in Azerbaijan regarding child pornography is not so bad. However, she is certain that Azerbaijan will be subjected to this worldwide problemand therefore supports tougher punishment for such crimes.
According to Osman Gunduz, the president of Internet-Forum of Azerbaijan, there are no websites offering child pornography material on the network within the country. He did not rule out that foreign websites can post information in the Azerbaijani language as well. He also deems it important to toughen the punishment for these crimes. According to Gunduz, it is not reasonable to make changes to the legislation without joining the European Convention on Cyber Crime. The president of the forum said that the Ministry of Education has been proposed to switch the education system to a unified network with a filtration program and relevant measures are being taken in this regard.
Gunduz said that all countries fight against child pornography, terrorism and extremism together with the government, public organizations, private sector, parents and education departments and Azerbaijan too must benefit from this experience.