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Student journalist's appeal of court decision against him rejected

(IRFS/IFEX) - The Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety regrets that the appeal of journalist Elmin Badalov was rejected and considers the decision to be unfounded.

On 12 November 2009, Badalov, a student and journalist, published an article on the http://www.pia.az website entitled "Reportage from the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy". The article was about bribery and financial fraud cases at the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy (ASOA). Badalov claimed that he was subjected to pressure tactics at the university because of the article. On 19 January 2010, he was dismissed from the ASOA because of failing grades in his classes. He claimed that he failed because of discrimination against him and filed a lawsuit against ASOA and ASOA Rector (President) Siyavush Garayev, considering his dismissal from the university to be unfounded. On 5 April, the Nasimi District Court decided to reject the lawsuit. On 2 July, the Baku Appellate Court upheld the decision of the Nasimi District Court.

IRFS considers Badalov's expulsion and the court's decision against him because of his article to constitute harassment. The court's decision contradicts Article 47 (everyone has the right to freedom of expression and speech) of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

IRFS believes that Badalov was subjected to pressure tactics for freely expressing his thoughts and calls on the higher courts to demand an annulment of the previous decisions and recognize the journalist's appeal.

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