BAKU -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has stripped a prominent novelist of the title of "People's Writer," as well as his presidentially awarded pension.
Azerbaijani media reported on February 7 that the actions were taken against Akram Aylisli because of his novel "Stone Dreams," which was printed in a popular Russian magazine last year.
The novel describes sensitive issues in relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
It focuses on Nagorno-Karabakh, the mostly Armenian-populated region that broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.
Azerbaijani media quoted Aliyev's decree, which said Aylisli was punished "for distorting facts in Azerbaijani history and insulting the feelings of Azerbaijani people."
Aylisli told RFE/RL the presidential decision was "unexpected" because his title and pension were awarded to him for his other works in the past.