Sardar Alibeili

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On July 31, 2013, Baku police took Alibeili, chief editor of the independent newspaper P.S. Nota, to a police station, where a local resident accused the editor of having attacked him. Alibeili denied the allegation but was held nonetheless.

Two days later, a district court in Baku ordered Alibeili imprisoned for two months pending an investigation into a criminal hooliganism charge, according to news reports.

Alibeili has frequently criticized President Ilham Aliyev and his administration in P.S. Nota and has published commentary by exiled politicians and army officers who accused the president of corruption, human rights abuses, and authoritarianism. The independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported that in a recent Facebook post Alibeili had published a collage that depicted Aliyev in handcuffs.

Alibeili, who previously edited the independent newspaper Nota Bene, has been imprisoned in retaliation for his work before, CPJ research shows. In July 2009, a court in Baku convicted Alibeili on criminal defamation charges and imprisoned him for three months. In April 2007, the editor was convicted of defaming Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and served 18 months of corrective labor.

On November 14, 2013, the Khatai District Court in Baku convicted Alibeili on hooliganism charges. The journalist’s lawyers said prosecutors did not provide substantive evidence or identify a motive, news reports said. The court sentenced Alibeili to four years in jail.

The journalist denied the allegations and appealed the verdict, according to news reports. After the appeals court upheld the conviction in May 2014, Alibeili and his lawyers disputed the ruling at the Supreme Court. No hearing date was set by December 1, 2014.

Alibeili was being held at Prison No. 14, outside Baku, according to an August 2014 report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan by a group of lawyers, human rights defenders, and non-governmental organizations.