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Azerbaijan's Education Officials Say Hunger Strikers Restored To University

(RFE/RL) BAKU, 19 January 2006 -- Reports from Azerbaijan say authorities have agreed to restore two students who have been on hunger strike since late December to protest their exclusion from university.

Azerbaijan's APA news agency quoted Education Ministry spokesman Bayram Huseynzade as saying the decision was reached today in the presence of foreign diplomats. He said the two students would be restored to a lower grade.

Namiq Feyziyev and Turan Aliyev claim they were expelled because of their pro-opposition political views. But authorities say they were thrown out because of failed exams and disciplinary problems.

Both students were hospitalized earlier this month after remaining on hunger strike for more than 20 days. Other young opposition activists who had joined their protest movement were also hospitalized.

(APA, turan)