‘Insulting’ the state emblem will be made a criminal offence
Performing the national anthem of Azerbaijan in any language other than Azerbaijani is now prohibited at the legislative level.
The law was passed on 19 February by the Azerbaijani parliament.
The new law describes exactly how an individual should behave while the national anthem is being performed at official events. Namely, one must either sing or respectfully listen and stand at attention. This rule applies to both citizens and foreigners.
Last November, MP Tair Karimli said that the Azerbaijani anthem is too long and sad (referring to the key it was written in). This caused a heated discussion, but the anthem remained unchanged.
In addition to the anthem, the parliament defined the rules for the use of the state’s coat of arms which may no longer be put on surfaces on which individuals sit or walk.
Violators of these laws will be fined, while insulting the state emblem and coat of arms will be considered a criminal offence.