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Azerbaijani Journalists Sentenced For Libel

"Tezadlar" Editor in Chief Asif Marzili
"Tezadlar" Editor in Chief Asif Marzili
The editor of independent Azerbaijani newspaper "Tazadlar" (Contrasts), Asif Marzili, was taken into custody and sentenced to one year in jail for libel in connection with the publication of an article about the alleged sale of diplomas at Azerbaijan International University.

Marzili's wife told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that her husband neglected to hire a lawyer because authorities had merely "invited" him to court to discuss an "agreement" but instead "put him in a car and took him to jail in the end."

Marzili is now believed to be one of five jailed journalists in Azerbaijan.

The author of the article, Zumrud Mammadli, received a suspended sentence of six months of correctional labor.

The head of the university accused Mammadli of defamation, a criminal offense in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan International University made headlines two years ago when the government ordered the expulsion of students after doubts arose over their admission process, prompting students to launch a mass hunger strike.