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Hilal Mamamdov, editor in chief of "Tolisi Sado" newspaper, in a 2012 photo
BAKU -- A court in Baku has sentenced the editor of an ethnic minority newspaper to five years in prison.

Hilal Mamedov, the editor of the Baku-based "Tolisi Sado" (The Voice of Talysh) independent newspaper, was found guilty of high treason, incitement of ethnic, religious, and racial hatred, and drugs possession.

Mamedov, who was arrested in June 2012, protested his innocence again in the courtroom on September 27.

Mamedov's newspaper is printed in the Talysh language, a branch of Persian.

The Talysh minority's leader in Azerbaijan, Novruzali Mamedov, who edited the newspaper before Hilal Mamedov, died in prison in 2009 after being found guilty of spying for Iran and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
"Even I did not vote for Luka."
MINSK -- An opposition activist in Belarus has been arrested after staging an unusual antigovernment protest in Minsk using the heads of dead pigs.

Police detained Paval Vinahradau on September 27 after he erected a protest installation in Minsk's Kamarou Market.

Vinahradau placed posters designed to look like thought bubbles next to the pigs' heads, with sayings such as "Even I did not vote for Luka," referring to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, or " "Sasha [Lukashenka], do not be a pig, release all political prisoners," and "What the oink? Gasoline gets twice as expensive each month?"

Vinahradau, who has served numerous several-day jail terms for various protest actions in the recent past, told RFE/RL by telephone that he was currently being held at a police station in the capital.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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