ARTICLE 19 URGES AZERBAIJAN’S GOVERNMENT TO EXAMINE CASES OF IMPRISONED JOURNALISTS CAREFULLY

August 21st, 2009
“ARTICLE 19 is deeply saddened by the death of journalist and Talysh cultural activist, Novruzali Mammadov, who passed away in prison on 17 August,” it is said in a press release distributed by ARTICLE 19. “ARTICLE 19 believes that Mammadov was wrongfully imprisoned and calls on the Government of Azerbaijan to review the cases of other wrongfully imprisoned journalists, especially those suffering grave ill health in prison.”

ARTICLE 19 stated in the press release that N.Mammadov was believed to have been targeted for his journalistic work and his ethnicity by local rights groups, however, the government failed to grant early release to Mammadov in July when his health had seriously and visibly deteriorated.
“The practice of wrongfully imprisoning journalists and then keeping them in prison while their health suffers is cruel punishment and an unacceptable tool in the Government’s strategy to limit freedom of expression,” commented Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “The fact that Novruzali Mammadov spent his final days fighting for life in prison, rather than at home in the arms of his loved ones is deplorable and was certainly avoidable.”
 
ARTICLE 19 also calls attention to the case of Mushfig Huseynov, the imprisoned Bizim Yol newspaper correspondent, who reportedly suffers from serious health problems and urges the Government to make public the list of medical conditions that would allow for prisoners’ early release, as has been requested under the freedom of information law in an appeal filed by Mushfig Huseynov’s attorneys. ARTICLE 19 further calls on the Government to carefully examine all other cases of journalists who may have been wrongfully imprisoned and urges their release.