Websites blocked in Azerbaijan take government to ECHR
Four websites blocked in Azerbaijan are suing the country’s government in the European Court of Human Rights. The plaintiffs accuse the state of violating several articles of the European Convention.
Also pending a decision is a case initiated by the Election Monitoring Center, whose work was banned in 2008.
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Radio Liberty and other three websites vs Azerbaijan
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has begun proceedings on the claims of four Azerbaijani sites blocked in the country by a decision of the authorities.
The plaintiffs, the editorial staff of Radio Liberty (azadliq.org), anaxeber.az, 24saat.org and xural.com, claim that the accessibility of their sites in Azerbaijan was limited after the communications ministry applied to local courts. In the decisions of local courts, it is noted that the restriction on access to these sites is explained by the desire to prevent violations of law and order, crimes against national security and the territorial integrity of the country.
The applicants claim that by doing so the Azerbaijani state violated the 10th, 18th and several other articles of the European Convention against them, reports the Bulletin of the European Court.
At the beginning of 2017, access to several independent websites was restricted in Azerbaijan, including the web pages of the Azadlig newspaper, Meydan TV, Radio Liberty, Turan TV channel, etc.
Despite a long legal process in all local instances, the decision taken at the suit of the Ministry of Communications has not been changed.
Election Monitoring Center and others vs Azerbaijan
On December 2, the European Court of Human Rights will announce its decision in the Election Monitoring Center and Others v. Azerbaijan case.
This lawsuit involves non-governmental organizations. The applicant organization and its founders, Anar Mammadli and Bashir Suleymanli, accuse the Azerbaijani state of illegally banning the activities of NGOs.
According to the materials of the case, Mammadli and Suleymanli six times in 2006-2008 applied to the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan to register the Election Monitoring Center (EMC). In February 2008, the non-governmental organization passed state registration.
But two months later, in April 2008, the same ministry went to court demanding the abolition of the state registration of NGOs. The reason for this demand was “violations of the NGO work”: the center did not provide the ministry with information on the change in the legal address, changes in the composition of the founders and the opening of representative offices. In May 2008, the court canceled the registration of the CMV. All other courts in Azerbaijan have upheld the decision of the first instance.
The plaintiffs complain about the refusal to register the organization and the cancellation of their registration, based on the 11th article of the European Convention.