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Jailed Journalists in Azerbaijan Not Allowed to Attend Father's Funeral


Ganimat Zahidov

Ganimat Zahidov

Two jailed journalists in Azerbaijan were denied permission to attend their father's funeral today.

Qanimat Zahid, editor in chief of the "Azadliq" newspaper, is serving a four-year term for hooliganism. His brother, satirist Mirza Sakit, is serving a 2 1/2-year term for illegal drug possession.

Their father, Salim Zahidov, died this morning in Shemakha city, 130 kilometers from the capital, Baku.

The mother of the two journalists, Xadica Zahidova, applied for the temporary release of her sons so that they could attend the burial ceremony. The Justice Ministry did not respond.

Rena Zahidova, the wife of Mirza Sakit, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that the funeral took place this evening.

Human rights activist Sahib Mammadov says Azerbaijani law allows prison authorities to temporarily release inmates to take part in funerals and believes the rights of the brothers were violated.

The cases against Zahid and Sakit are widely considered to have been politically motivated.

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