The founder of one of the newspapers, Eynulla Fatullayev, was sentenced to time in prison (Turan)
May 21, 2007 -- Authorities in Azerbaijan have closed down the joint offices of two opposition newspapers, claiming that the closure was due to problems with maintenance and fire safety.
Uzeir Jafarov, editor of "Realny Azerbaijan" (Real Azerbaijan), said his paper and "Gyundelik Azerbaycan" (Azerbaijan Daily) would challenge the closure in court. He called the closure an attempt to stifle media criticism.
Last month, a Baku court sentenced "Realny Azerbaijan's" founder, Eynulla Fatullayev, to 30 months in prison for defaming the armed forces. Shortly after testifying in court in Fatullayev's defense, Jafarov was attacked and badly beaten.
At least seven journalists are now in prison in Azerbaijan. Rights groups have warned that Azerbaijani journalists who criticize the authorities or expose corruption face a growing risk of arrest or reprisal attacks.