The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir today condemned the sentencing of journalist Afghan Mukhtarli to six years in prison by the Balakan District Court in Azerbaijan.
“The sentence, based on spurious charges against the investigative journalist, is a clear attack on free media. Silencing independent journalists can never be accepted. I hope that this verdict will be overturned on appeal,” said Désir, who previously called on the authorities to drop all charges against Mukhtarli and respect his right to freedom of expression.
Mukhtarli was convicted of “smuggling”, “illegal crossing of the border” and “resistance to an official representative”.
Mukhtarli was reportedly abducted in Tbilisi in May 2017. Désir recalled that the investigation by Georgian authorities has still not been completed.