Azerbaijani Freelance Journalist Sentenced to 30 days Administrative Detention

ARTICLE 19 submitted this alert to the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists:

Rovshan Mammadli, a freelance journalist working in Azerbaijan, has been sentenced to 30 days administrative detention for ‘disobeying police orders’.

Mammadli was arrested in Baku on 23 January 2017. Police allege that he was using abusive language while speaking on the phone, and was arrested after ignoring police orders to desist from doing so. Following his arrest, he was held incommunicado for 24 hours, before being sentenced by a Baku District Court. According to his lawyer, Mammadli was denied the right to appoint his own legal counsel. They are now planning an appeal.

Immediately prior to his arrest, Mammadli had written a number of articles about the controversial Nardaran trial, concerning 18 men who are accused of plotting a coup, but whom a number of human rights activists consider to be prisoners of conscience. His articles were published on several online news sites, including Azadliq, which was forced to stop publishing in September 2016.