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Rights Envoy Concerned By Azerbaijan's Jailed Journalists

Thomas Hammarberg

Thomas Hammarberg

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg has expressed concern that some journalists in Azerbaijan have been imprisoned on fabricated charges of hooliganism, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Hammarberg was speaking on March 5 at a press conference at the end of a five-day visit to Azerbaijan during which he met with government officials and opposition politicians. He also visited the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic, where human rights violations have been reported.

Hammarberg told journalists he will monitor the cases of journalists and bloggers jailed for criticizing the country's leadership, including Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of the independent newspaper "Realny Azerbaijan."

Additionally, bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli have been jailed since July on hooliganism charges. Human rights organizations and many western governments have called the charges against the bloggers politically motivated because of their opposition activities.