The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep dismay after learning about the arrest and subsequent sentencing of Aziz Orudjev, the executive director of TV channel Kanal-13 in Azerbaijan.
On 15 December, the Baku Court on Grave Crimes sentenced Orudjev to six years in prison, following charges of “illegal entrepreneurship” and “abuse of power”. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Azerbaijani Centre for the Protection of Political Prisoners included his name on the list of the persons prosecuted for political reasons.
“We are dismayed by this court decision and are very concerned about the conditions Orudjev will be put in for the duration of his sentence. It is troublesome that in Azerbaijan, arbitrary charges and political bias can still place you behind bars in an attempt to silence you and rob you of your freedom” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said earlier. “We call on authorities in the country to immediately release Aziz Orudjev and all other individuals that were incarcerated for political reasons” Vujovic added.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.