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Baku Court Annuls Journalist’s Prison Sentence

Asif Marzili

Asif Marzili

The Court of Appeals in Baku has annulled a verdict sentencing a journalist to one year in prison, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Baku's Yasamal District Court on April 7 found Asif Marzili, the editor of the independent newspaper “Tazadlar” (Contrasts), guilty of libel and sentenced him to one year of jail.

The case was initiated by the rector of the International University in Baku, who accused Marzili of libel over an interview he conducted with another journalist, Zumrud Mammadova, on alleged corruption at the university and the illegitimate sale of diplomas. Mammadova was sentenced to six months of community service.

The Court of Appeals decided to annul the sentences of both journalists. It made the ruling a day after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev harshly criticized the verdict against Marzili.

Aliyev said that he would like to see the courts find legal ways to solve disputes between parties involved in scandals instead of sending journalists to jail.

There are currently three journalists imprisoned in Iran for what their supporters say were their professional activities, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.