On March 22 the Committee to Protect Journalists disseminated a statement welcoming the release of Azadlig Newspaper Editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahidov from prison.
“We are relieved Azerbaijani officials have released our colleague Ganimat Zahidov, who served 28 long months in prison in retaliation for his critical journalism,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We call on Azerbaijani authorities to build on this positive step by releasing editor Eynulla Fatullayev and video bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, all of whom have been imprisoned for their journalism.”
The statement touched upon the death threat that the Editor-in-chief of Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan Newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev and his family received, the interrogation of several media representatives in the Ministry of National Security in connection with Fatullayev’s statements, and the denial of the appeal of imprisoned bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade.
Ganimat Zahid was pardoned on 17 March under a pardon signed by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
Ganimat Zahid was convicted under articles 127.2.3 (hooliganism with intentional infliction of minor bodily harm) and 221 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code and imprisoned for four years.
Azadlig newspaper has been published since 1989 and operates as daily newspaper.