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Jailed Azeri Journalists Finally Released To Mourn Father's Death


Mirza Sakit (left) and Qanimat Zahid are pictured after their release from prison today.

Mirza Sakit (left) and Qanimat Zahid are pictured after their release from prison today.

Two jailed journalist brothers have been temporarily released from prison to grieve their father's death.

Qanimat Zahid, editor in chief of the "Azadliq" newspaper, is serving a four-year sentence for hooliganism. His brother, satirist Mirza Sakit, is serving a 2 1/2-year term for drugs possession. The two were released a day after their father was buried in the city of Shemakha.

Attempts by the brothers’ relatives and human rights activists to get them out of jail for the funeral were to no avail.

After long talks with Azerbaijani authorities, the brothers were finally released and allowed to be with their relatives for seven days of mourning, as Islamic traditions require.

International and domestic human rights activists consider the brothers' imprisonment to be politically motivated.

(by Khadija Ismayilova of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)

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