July 16th, 2008
Imprisoned “Azadlig” Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ganimat Zahid made a new proposal.

Most of the prisoners in Zahid’s prison cell cannot read or write in Latin Azeri alphabet; therefore he suggests that the Education Ministry, along with the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary System, organize courses together in the prisons to solve this problem. Ganimat’s wife Ayanda Mursaliyeva, who visited Zahid on 14 July in Prison #14, told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. 

IRFS notes that on 25 December 1991 Azerbaijan switched to an Latin alphabet from a Cyrillic alphabet. As of 1 August 2001, the new alphabet was fully applied. 

Several days ago G. Zahid also suggested that a different prison for prisoners suffering from drug addiction be created, so that these types of people can receive treatment.

A.Mursaliyeva noted that although Ganimat has no serious health problems, he is afflicted by rheumatism and eye pain. “He can’t sleep without rubbing his feet with ointment for rheumatism,” said Murselaliyeva. “His rheumatism stems from the dampness of the prison where he is held.” 

IRFS contacted the Penitentiary Service to learn their position regarding Zahid’s proposal. The public relations department representative said that all issues related to education in prisons are resolved according to legislation.

“We don’t seek G. Zahid’s suggestions. There are schools in all the prisons in Azerbaijan for the prisoners to study. There have been prisoners who went to school in these prisons, then received certificates, and were later admitted to universities,” the employee of the department said.