LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CONCERNED: MUSHFIG HUSEYNOV’S LIFE IN DANGER

December 4th, 2009
The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement following reports about the deteriorating health of Bizim Yol newspaper correspondent Mushfig Huseynov demanding for his release.

“We call on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately alter Mushfig Huseynov’s remaining prison term on humanitarian grounds so he can receive the specialized medical care he urgently needs,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Our concern for Huseynov’s wellbeing is heightened by the August death in prison of editor Novruzali Mamedov, who was denied adequate care in the months before he died.”

PACE co-rapporteur Andreas Herkel said that he will follow imprisoned journalist Mushfig Huseynov’s health. A.Herkel told Radio Liberty that a similar case occurred in Azerbaijan once, Novruzali Mammadov passed away in prison and therefore Mushfig Huseynov should receive proper treatment. “Everywhere in the world journalists are believed to belong to vulnerable strata, especially if they are imprisoned,” said Herkel. “Therefore Huseynov should be treated appropriately.”
Human Rights Defender Novella Jafaroglu told IRFS that she talked about Mushfig Huseynov’s situation with Ethan Goldrich, Director of Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts from the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs,. Jafaroglu mentioned that Mushfig might end up having the same fate as Novruzali Mammadov.
“Yeni Nesil” Journalist Union Chairman Arif Aliyev, Azerbaijani Journalist Union Elchin Shikli, Center for Journalism and Development Chairman Gulu Maharramli, League of Democratic Journalists Chairman Yadigar Mammadli and Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili appealed to President Ilham Aliyev to release Mushfig Huseynov, according to Radio Liberty.
It is emphasized in the appeal that Mushfig Huseynov should be released on humanitarian grounds to have normal conditions to receive treatment. “At the present time we are far from discussing the level of Mushfig Huseynov’s crime and the objectivity of the sentence given to him,” the appeal reads. “However, the reason behind every punishment is correction. We are very concerned that this young journalist might lose the opportunity to restore his health and continue working in any form. His children, who are two and four years old, and his unemployed wife are all waiting for him at home.”
On 14 October M.Huseynov, who suffers from late-stage tuberculosis, was transferred from prison #2 to the Penitentiary Services Specialized Treatment Facility for Tuberculosis prisoners.  
The journalist claims that although his health deteriorated since he was transferred to the facility, he is not receiving the necessary treatment.
Mushfig Huseynov was convicted under Article 311.1 (receiving of a bribe) of the Criminal Code in July, 2007 and on 21 January 2008 was sentenced by Grave Crimes Court Judge Jamal Ramazanov to 6 years of imprisonment. However, this sentence was reduced to 5 years through a decision adopted by the Appellate Court.
Bizim yol newspaper has been published since 2003 and operates as daily newspaper.