Azerbaijan's parliament limits free speech

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Date: 1998

Region: Russia and Central Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artists: Ilham Saban, Smira Mamigdze, Ilhame Mamigdze and other Azerbaijani journalists

Confronting Bodies: Azerbaijan's police and government officials

Dates of Action: November 1998

Location: Baku and Turan, Azerbaijan

Description of Artwork: Any publications critical of Azerbaijan's government and leaders

The Incident: Ilham Saban was beaten by Turan police during a rally opposing the current government leadership, even after he presented his press identification. There have been numerous reports of reporters being beaten by police in Azerbaijan during the three days of demonstrations in November.

Results of Incident: On November 10 Azerbaijan's parliament declared that the Information Ministry will "'take all legal measures' to preclude the publication of 'unconfirmed and provacative materials' and to 'defend the honour and dignity of the president.'" In addition, on November 13, the government passed legislation limiting the right to demonstrate and to impose stricter prison sentences for those who take part in and organize oppositional demonstrations.

Source: Index on Censorship, 1/99