Prominent journalist in Azerbaijan sentenced to two years in prison
IRFS Chairman Mehman Huseynov sentenced to 2 yr after a reactionary defamation case that all started cause he was tortured by police! pic.twitter.com/gvXnDM6Lam— IRFS Azerbaijan (@IRFS_Azerbaijan) March 3, 2017
On 3rd March 2017, Azerbaijani journalist and blogger Mehman Huseynov was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of libel. In December, Huseynov, who is well known for investigative reporting on corruption cases, published pictures of luxury homes that presumably belonged to government officials. He was then detained by the police on 9th January 2017. After his release, he made statements about the police interrogation and abuse, including accusations of torture. In response, the police accused Huseynov of libel, which he and his lawyer believe to be politically-motivated charges.
The international community has expressed outrage over the sentencing, with several international human rights organisations promptly issuing statements calling for his immediate release. The Human Rights House Network informed the UN Human Rights Council about Mehmen's sentencing on 3rd February 2017, requesting that international organisations put more pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities to protect freedom of expression in the country. The Azerbaijani state continues to be one of the most repressive in the region, and many independent journalists have been threatened, imprisoned or forced to flee the country.