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Sadagat Valiyeva: “Even Armenia imposes a fine of 1,200 euros for criticizing municipalities”

Sadagat Valiyeva: “Even Armenia imposes a fine of 1,200 euros for criticizing municipalities”

Sadagat Valiyeva, chairwoman of the Nizami district branch of the New Azerbaijan Party and a member of the Milli Majlis, said that Armenia prohibits the publication and dissemination of information that criticizes, refutes, questions, or depreciates the actions of state bodies and officials:

"The country imposes a fine of 1,200 euros for criticizing the government and even municipalities. Therefore, social network users and journalists cannot openly criticize the government's arbitrariness and crimes," she said.

Fakt Yoxla examined whether Sadagat Valiyeva's claim was true.

The martial law declared in Armenia was tightened on October 8 due to the military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, which began on September 27.

The decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Armenia prohibits officials from conducting dubious campaigns, criticizing and refuting the country's defense capabilities, and disseminating relevant materials in this direction.

These restrictions include the broadcasting of programs in the country that criticize or refute or question the effectiveness of public administration and local government officials.

Violation of these requirements by the mass media can result in fines ranging from 700,000 drams to 1 million drams (1,216-1,738 euros) and by individuals - from 300,000 drams to 700,000 drams (521-1,216 euros).

Anti-war Armenian activist Georgi Vanyan told OC Media that he came to the police station in November for an anti-war post he shared on Facebook and was fined between 300,000 and 700,000 drams. He was also told that if he did not delete the sharing, the fine would be 1 million drams.

Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights allows a High Contracting Party to derogate from some of its obligations in time of war or other public emergency. The declaration of martial law in Armenia on September 27 has created a legal basis for the restriction of rights and freedoms in the country.

In Azerbaijan, the law does not provide for any penalties for criticizing political speeches. According to the Law on Martial Law, when martial law is declared, the following measures may be taken during martial law:

- suspension of the activities of political parties, trade unions, public associations, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations that prevent the elimination of the circumstances that led to the declaration of martial law and the implementation of certain measures;

- prohibiting or restricting the holding of meetings, rallies, street marches, demonstrations, and pickets, as well as other mass events;

- military censorship of media information and materials;

- application of a special regime of mass media in the territory (territories) where martial law is applied, restriction or suspension of their activity if there are legal grounds.

Mass riots broke out in Armenia after a ceasefire agreement was signed between Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia on November 9, and protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. On November 12, 10 opposition activists accused of organizing protests were detained by law enforcement officers. A fine of 400,000 to 700,000 drams (695-1,217 euros) is imposed for participating in rallies and street demonstrations during martial law.

According to Paragraph 2.13 of Article 517 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Azerbaijan, for non-compliance with the ban or restriction on holding meetings, rallies, street marches, demonstrations, and pickets, as well as other public events during martial law, individuals are fined in the amount of 300 to 500 AZN (147-245 euros) or administrative detention for up to thirty days, depending on the circumstances of the case and the identity of the offender, officials are fined in the amount of 600 to 900 AZN (294-442 euros), legal entities in the amount of 4,000 to 6,000 AZN (1,963-2,945 euros).

Fakt Yoxla concludes that Sadagat Valiyeva’s claim is True.

  • 30 November, 2020
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