On July 28, the Prosecutor’s Office contacted and summoned eight people, among them journalists, activists and ordinary citizens.
Ruslan Izzetli, the former chairman of the D18 (Democracy 18) Movement, was one of them.
Izzteli told Meydan TV that they were received by Deputy Prosecutor General Jamal Ahmadov and Deputy Head of the Department of Non-Prosecution Proceedings Shamshir Shamshirli. The officials gave them a verbal warning that they should not post content that belittles the army in social media accounts:
“I was warned about the status I wrote on June 26, the Armed Forces Day. I wrote that if Ilham Aliyev and his team go to Karabakh today and hold an event there, veterans and soldiers should be the ones give him authorization. Unfortunately, problems of veterans and servicemen were not solved even on Armed Forces Day. When both men said that I had no legal basis for my status and no facts, I stated that I had freedom of expression. I added that there are enough facts and objections to justify my every sentence”.
Izzteli was threaten with an appeal to the court under the Code of Administrative Offenses if he posted something related to the army again. He believes that the General Prosecutor’s Office’s interference in people’s thoughts is another form of censorship.
The General Prosecutor’s Office grounds it summoning arguing that requirements of the Law “On Media”, which establish impartial and objective presentation of facts and events, were not observed.
Lawyer Alasgar Mammadli believes that the continuous interference of the prosecutor’s office on the freedom of expression indicates a serious departure of legislation from European standards.
He told Meydan TV that in 2015 and 2017, the authorities took systematic steps after introducing the power of blocking into the legislation:
“At that time, we always said that this is an interference with the freedoms defined by the Constitution and is contrary to the European Convention. The prosecutor’s office should not act as a censor and examine people’s opinions. The prosecutor’s office should look specifically at whether the law has been violated or not. The law must also be clear, and the prohibited expression of information is a very abstract expression”, the lawyer explains.