Azerbaijani Press Council Hopes Arrested Journalists will Be Pardoned
Azerbaijan, Baku, 21 August / Trend corr. E.Babayev / The Azerbaijani Press Council hopes that the President will pardon three arrested journalists.
"We applied to the President with the request to pardon journalists in July. This appeal is in force and remains on agenda. The issue will be examined at a meeting of the Press Council's Board of Directors to be held in few days and we want the arrested journalists to be set free soon," Aflatun Amashov, the chairman of the Press Council, told Trend on 21 August.
Pardon decree is expected to be signed by the presidential elections to be held in Azerbaijan on 15 October. The meeting of the Pardon Commission at the President was held during the last two weeks.
At present, Ganimat Zahid, editor-in-chief of Azadlig newspaper, Mirza Sakit, an employee of this newspaper, and Eynulla Fatullayev, editor-in-chief of Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan newspapers, are in jail. Zahid was charged with intended less grievous injury to human health and hooliganism. The court sentenced him to four-year in imprisonment in November 2007. Sakit was sentenced in June 2006 with the charge of illegal drugs storing. Fatullayev was charged with terrorism, instigation of national, racial or religious animosity through the use of his position and tax evasion. He was sentenced to eight and half-year in imprisonment in April 2007.
According to Amashov, the Press Council hopes for positive result of the appeal, which was sent on to the President on journalists' pardon. "Journalists, who are under arrest, are head of families, as well. Their pardon can positively influence on Azerbaijan's international image," Amashov said.
The Azerbaijani Press Council was established at the first congress of journalists held on 15 March in 2003. Amashov is the chairman of the Council since the period of its establishment.
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