Last Updated: Friday, 08 December 2017, 11:58 GMT

2015 prison census - Azerbaijan: Nijat Aliyev

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 14 December 2015
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, 2015 prison census - Azerbaijan: Nijat Aliyev, 14 December 2015, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Nijat Aliyev, Azadxeber
Charge:Retaliatory, Anti-state
Imprisoned:May 20, 2012

Baku police arrested Aliyev, editor-in-chief of the independent news website Azadxeber, near a subway station in downtown Baku and charged him with possession of illegal drugs. A local court ordered Aliyev to be held in pretrial detention. Authorities have extended his pretrial detention several times.

Colleagues disputed the charges and said they were in retaliation for his journalism. Aliyev's deputy, Parvin Zeynalov, told local journalists that the outlet's critical reporting on the government's religion policies, including perceived anti-Islamic activities, could have prompted the editor's arrest.

CPJ has documented a pattern in which Azerbaijani authorities file questionable drug charges against journalists whose coverage has been at odds with official views.

Aliyev's lawyer, Anar Gasimli, told the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, a local press freedom organization, that Aliyev said investigators tortured the journalist in custody and pressured him to admit he had drugs in his possession. The lawyer did not say how Aliyev was tortured. According to the institute, Gasimli said police threatened to plant narcotics in the editor's apartment and file more serious charges against him.

In January 2013, authorities brought additional charges against Aliyev-illegal import and sale of religious literature, making calls to overturn the constitutional regime, and incitement to ethnic and religious hatred, the institute reported. In March 2013, investigators finished the investigation against the editor, according to local press reports.

On December 9, 2013, the Baku Court for Grave Crimes sentenced Aliyev to 10 years in prison, according to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel. In June 2014, Azerbaijan's Court of Appeals denied Aliyev's appeal, reports said. He was being held in Azerbaijan's Prison No. 2. CPJ could not determine the state of his health.

In the run-up to the first European Games, held in Baku in June 2015, CPJ and the Sport for Rights coalition pressed the European Olympic Committees to demand the release of imprisoned journalists and a halt to Azerbaijan's crackdown on journalists and civil society.

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