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Jafarov following the attack on him BAKU, April 23, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Embassy in Baku has condemned the beating of Azerbaijani journalist Uzeir Jafarov, who remains hospitalized with severe head injuries, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reported.

Embassy spokesman Jonathan Henrick said on April 22 that there was "no justification" for the attack, which took place as Jafarov left his Baku office late on April 20.

The attack came hours after Jafarov testified in a Baku court in favor of fellow journalist Eynulla Fatullayev.

That court subsequently sentenced Fatullayev, the editor of the newspaper "Realniy Azerbaijan," to 30 months in jail for articles deemed insulting to refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh.

The OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Miklos Haraszti, voiced "dismay" today over the sentence, and said media freedom in Azerbaijan is under "growing pressure" from the authorities.

"Realniy Azerbaijan" is a frequent critic of President Ilham Aliyev and his government.

Fatullayev founded "Realniy Azerbaijan" in May 2005 after his previous newspaper, "The Monitor," was shut down following the killing of its editor in chief, Elmat Huseynov, in March 2005.
'Attacks On The Press -- 2006'

Ukrainian journalists demonstrating against censorship in December 2006 (RFE/RL)

'DOMINO EFFECT.' Two experts with the Committee to Protect Journalists told an RFE/RL-Radio Free Asia briefing on February 6 that their organization is concerned Russia's increasingly restrictive media environment is being copied by other countries in the CIS.


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