ALERT Avaz Zeynalli’s health deteriorating in prison

August 28th, 2012
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) is alarmed by reports of deteriorating health of Khural newspaper chief editor Avaz Zeynalli, who is currently serving pre-trial detention.

IRFS considers Avaz Zeynalli to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and calls for his immediate release. Pending his release, IRFS urges that Zeynalli receives all necessary medical attention, including treatment at a medical facility outside the prison if required.

 

Khural newspaper, director Nizami Hasanov called IRFS hotline ( +994 12 408 75 30) today to report that Zeynalli’s health has deteriorated. Hasanov refers to the official report of the medical-sanitary department of the Penitentiary Service, which says Zeynalli suffers from hepatocholecystitis, hepatomegaly, kidney stones, spinal osteochondrosis, neuralgia radiculitis and chronic subatrophic rhinitis.

 

The Medical-sanitary department of the Penitentiary Service has informed Zeynalli’s family about his health problems.

 

Hasanov says Zeynalli still suffers serious health problems although he is allegedly being treated in the medical-sanitary department of the Penitentiary Service. According to Hasanov, a mole on Zeynalli’s back got infected and swelled, and he also needs nose job.

IRFS calls on Azerbaijani government to ensure that Avaz Zeynalli receives all necessary medical attention, including treatment at a medical facility outside the prison if required.

 

Avaz Zeynalli, the editor-in-chief of Khural, was arrested following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th, 2011. The Anti-Corruption Office launched a criminal case against Zeynalli under article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and article 311.3.4 (extortion). Later he was charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion).  He has been held in Baku Investigative Prison for more than 10 months.  

Local and international human rights organizations strongly believe that the charges against Avaz Zeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking state officials.