Azerbaijan’s Health Minister called on authorities to arrest a journalist who held a protest in front of the ministry’s building demanding free medical care for his mother, who suffered of an oncological disease.
On May 18, Teymur Karimov, the journalist in question, said the public hospitals were not taking care of his ill mother free of charge, and allegedly asking for bribes. He had decided to hold a protest by selling his clothes in front of the ministry as he could not afford the demanded amount.
The minister Ogtay Shiraliyev has denied all allegations and filed a defamation suit in the local court against Karimov urging for his punishment and the maximum penalty, which is three years imprisonment.
On June 14, the Nasimi District Court will hold a hearing on the case. Other people who are also complaining of bribery at public hospitals are planning to attend the trial to extend their support to the journalist. Karimov's mother passed away on 7 June.
Public hospitals are run by state in Azerbaijan and medical care is supposed to be offered free of charge for Azerbaijani residents.