Freedom of Media is demanded: Famous Azerbaijani Journalist Joins Hunger Strike Demanding Blogger’s Release

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Lahore – Pakistan: An ongoing hunger strike is joined by a prominent Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova for the release of a jailed anti corruption blogger while the other people who are jailed are considered political prisoners.

The anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov was imprisoned because of because of his daring nature of bringing the truth in front of the world through his writings.

Ismayilova posted 15 pictures on Facebook to show consolidation against this unjust step of police. The pictures depict activist Namiq Abdullayev, and others holding the hunger strike on the premises of the opposition Musavat party in Baku.

Musavat deputy head Tofiq Yaqublu also joined the strike demanding the release of Mehman Huseynov and all political prisoners in the South Caucasus country by Azerbaijani authorities.

“I have nothing else to sacrifice…other than my health,” Ismailova said in a January 14 post announcing her intention to join the hunger strike.

She demanded that President Ilham Aliyev’s government “drop charges against five political prisoners who were about to end their prison terms” and “release all journalists, bloggers, and freedom of expression activists from prison.”

She suggested that government should implement “zero political prisoners policy” that would include jointly reviewing “all political prisoners cases” with independent human rights groups.

“Stop me if you can!” Ismayilova added.

Yaqublu told RFE/RL that he and activist Natiq Irsafilli that they are on hunger strike since January 14th and refused to eat or drink anything since then.

The matter is now in the air and getting a lot of attention on the international level since Huseynov is prosecuted with new charges just weeks before his expected release from prison.

He is accused of “resisting a representative of the authorities with the use of violence dangerous to [the representative’s] health and life.”

According to the lawyer of Huseynov, the case has become very sensitive for the blogger as he could be sentenced to seven years of prison if he would be charged with one more allegation. This has triggered calls by Azerbaijani and international watchdog groups, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and The Washington Post’s editorial board for Huseynov’s release.

On an international level, the right wing and the European government are making efforts to urge the Azerbaijani government to release political prisoners. They hold the view that such kind of government’s behaviour towards media persons and political figures indicates fabrication of criminal cases to stifle dissent and media freedom.

Aliev, who has ruled the oil-producing former Soviet republic of almost 10 million people with an iron fist since shortly before his long-ruling father’s death in 2003, has ignored the criticism.

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