On 19 December, the Baku Court of Appeal upheld a ruling to block access to a number of independent news websites in Azerbaijan. The failed appeal had been brought by Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service, Azadlig (“Liberty”), and the unrelated Azadlig newspaper.
On 14 December, the trial of journalist Afgan Mukhtarli continued at the Balakan District Court. In May this year, Mukhtarli had mysteriously disappeared from Georgia, where he was living, and later resurfaced in Baku – under arrest. The journalist says he was abducted, tortured, and forcefully brought to Azerbaijan, with 10,000 Euro planted in his pockets.