Human Rights Activist Calls Azerbaijani Newspaper’s Chief Editor to Stop Hunger Strike

Society Materials 14 December 2007 12:56 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. К.Zarbaliyeva / Elchin Behbutov, the human rights activist, appealed to the detained chief editor of the Azerbaijani Azadlig newspaper Ganimat Zahid to end his hunger strike.

The Yasamal District Court of Baku sentenced Zahid two months detention on 11 November. Zahid was charged with hooliganism and causing deliberate damage to human health. It was reported that Zahid was detained due to an incident which occurred in front of the Azerbaijan publishing building where the Azadlig newspaper is located on 1 November at 4:00p.m. The quarrel occurred between Zahid, Sevgilade Guliyeva and Vusal Hasanov ended with fight. Hasanov appealed to the Yasamal District Police Station where he was examined and it was revealed that he suffered cranium trauma. If Zahid is found guilty he will be sentenced to three years in prison.

According to Behbutov, the journalist launched hunger strike on 8 December protesting against the illegal arrest of journalists. Behbutov said Zahid had no complaints on the conditions and the treatment he received in the isolation cell.

The chairman of the Committee on Protection of Freedom of Speech and Press Arzu Abdullayeva appealed to Zahid to end his hunger strike as such an action may cause damage to his health and affect his four children.

During the meeting with Behbutov, Zahid said that he would not stop the hunger strike until his demands were met.

The criminal case on the chief editor was submitted to the Yasamal District Court for consideration.

Presently, nine journalists are imprisoned in Azerbaijan for defamation and insult.