Azerbaijan's government has begun to block internet pornography sites. While this is far from the first time the country has tried to control what websites its citizens access, it does appear to be the first time it's restricting pornography.
The blocking was carried out by the Electronic Security Service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. The move was reportedly made due to a local court decision, but no further details were released.
In December last year, Azerbaijan's parliament adopted a new set of laws penalizing the online dissemination of banned materials. The legislation referred to a list of prohibited information that was first put into use by Azerbaijani courts in
May 2017 authorizing the government to censor online information including terrorist propaganda, suicide videos, pornography and weapons-production manuals, but also gambling and defamation.
It's not clear why the ban on pornography was implemented, but it has generated some speculation online. Journalist Habib Muntazir of Meydan TV noted that on August 15, a Facebook parody page, Politicians of Ã ayxana, photoshopped the logo of the
pornographic website Pornhub onto a picture of President Ilham Aliyev reprimanding the head of the state energy company for the country's recent blackouts. The caption read: Boss punishes sexy secretary.
In a judgment handed down 17 July 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) criticised Russia for its exceptionally severe treatment of punk band Pussy Riot following the group's protest performance at a Moscow cathedral in 2012.
The court found Russia committed multiple violations of the European Convention on Human Rights when it detained, tried, convicted and jailed three Pussy Riot members--Mariya Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich.
The trio was arrested after their performance on 21 February 2012 for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. They remained in pre-trial detention before being convicted and jailed six months' later.
The Russian trial court found that the women's actions had been offensive and insulting because they wore brightly coloured clothes and balaclavas, waved their arms, kicked their legs around and used obscene language.
Alekhina and Tolokonnikova spent one year and nine months behind bars, while Ms Samutsevich served approximately seven months in jail before her sentence was suspended.
The ECHR said in its judgment the band members had been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment because of overcrowded conditions while being transported to and from the courtroom, and because they had to suffer the humiliation of being
exposed in a glass dock during their hearings.
Their right to freedom of expression was also violated, the court ruled, because of the band members' conviction and prison sentences, which were exceptionally severe. A further violation was committed by banning internet access to a video of the
band's performance, the judgment said.
The court also found Russia violated the right to liberty and security, and the right to a fair trial.
It ordered Russia pay damages of 16,000 euros each to Alekhina and Tolokonnikova and 5,000 euros to Samutsevich, as well as 11,760 euros for costs and expenses.