Friday, January 23

What happens when you 'insult' a state institution...

Today, sheduled trial for Leyla Yunus begins in Baku. She is charged for 'insulting' the Ministry of Internal Affairs, causing (according to the ministry), 'moral damage' to the reputation of the police (I had no idea, that the MIA and Azerbaijani police officers were so 'emotional' and 'ethical'). Leyla Yunus, was charged, as a result of an interview she gave, where she questioned the conduct of a kidnapping trial in which a defendant had alleged police involvement.

Human Rights Watch is urging the government to withdraw this case. 

"In a statement, Rachel Denber, director of HRW's Europe and Central Asia division, said "a judgment against Yunus would set a terrible precedent for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan."

"When allegations are made of official involvement in kidnapping, the public has an interest in knowing what has been done to investigate," said Denber. "The Azerbaijani government should focus on ensuring that justice is done instead of targeting activists for their legitimate criticism."

Activists and media watchdog groups say the Yunus case is but one more example of the Azerbaijani government cracking down on free expression".

I am slightly skeptical whether the government will take Human Rights Watch seriously...

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