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Baku court throws out case contesting President's blocking of accounts on social media

31 August 2021

On August 30, the Sabail District Court in Baku refused to consider a lawsuit filed by public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Some time ago, public activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev publicly complained that because he was blocked by the official Twitter and Facebook accounts of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, he was deprived of the right to freedom of speech. 

The President’s social media accounts, he said, are a public space funded through public monies and the blocking of accounts, therefore is discrimination. 

He also submitted a complaint to a local court on the matter. 

As an example, he cited a 2018 court ruling in the United States that prohibited then-US President, Donald Trump, from blocking critics of his administration on Twitter and other social media platforms — as it was considered a violation of freedom of speech. 

According to Hajiyev, judge Shahin Abdullayev justified throwing out the case by stating that the ‘official page of the head of state is managed by the Presidential Administration and that as a result ‘the president can not be held liable’.

Hajiyev, a long-time public activist and critic of the Aliyev government, told OC Media that ‘there is no freedom of speech and opinion in the country’, and that courts, like other institutions, depend on the President. 

He also said that despite him naming Ilham Aliyev as the defendant, the court records state that the defendant is ‘the presidential administration’, indeed Aliyev, he said, was not named anywhere in the documents. 

Hajiyev said he would appeal the court’s decision, and continue seeking a legal unblocking of himself from the President’s official social media accounts.

‘I will remove all excuses and appeal again until the court takes the case to court’, he said.

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